YORKSHIRE’S first opponents in the inaugural Abu Dhabi T20, the Pakistan side Lahore Qalandars, were described in the build-up to last night’s game in somewhat ominous fashion on Abu Dhabi Cricket’s Twitter feed.
“Proudly donning the green are the @lahoreqalandars, a super squad that’s raging with the fire of ambition and determination. The Green Shirts will field a suite of hungry participants eager to succeed at #ZayedCricketStadium, their home away from home in the #UAE capital!”
Sure enough, those “suite of hungry participants” gobbled up Yorkshire, whom they beat by six wickets with two balls to spare.
But they did so only after a moment of high controversy bordering on high farce.
With Lahore 93-2 after 10 overs in pursuit of 185 (Yorkshire had been 93-3 off 10 en route to 184-5), Sohail Akhtar, the Lahore captain, lofted a ball from leg-spinner Josh Poysden towards the long-off boundary.
Adam Lyth caught it and then flipped the ball up as his momentum took him briefly over the rope before stepping back inside to complete the catch.
After endless replays the umpire finally gave Sohail out for 51 only then to reverse his decision dramatically.
Yorkshire were infuriated, Sohail going on to a career-best 100 from 56 balls to leave Yorkshire needing to win their second and final group game against Hobart Hurricanes on Saturday (8am start UK time) to stand a chance of reaching the final that night.
Put into bat, Yorkshire enjoyed lots of good starts but no sizeable score, Harry Brook striking 37, Gary Ballance 33, Adam Lyth 32, Jack Leaning 26*, Jonny Tattersall 26 and Tim Bresnan 17*, left-arm pace bowler Shaheen Afridi taking 2-36.
Lahore’s fielding was wretched, but Sohail was well supported by Phil Salt (37 not out) and Bilal Irshad (30) to close out the win, Poysden and Bresnan each taking two wickets.
Boost Defenders (205-5) beat Auckland Aces (170-5) by 35 runs.