Lahore Qalandars chased down 185 to beat Yorkshire in the opening Abu Dhabi T20 Group A clash thanks to a blistering maiden century from captain Sohail Akhtar.

Opener Akhtar led an exhilarating pursuit to give the Pakistan Super League side a notable six-wicket victory with two balls to spare over a Yorkshire side viewed by many as the favourites to win the group.

The 32-year-old hit 100 off 56 balls, including 11 fours and five sixes, having come to the crease at 12-1 in the second over.

He fell in the 18th with 20 needed, but Phil Salt finished 37 not out and won it with a six off Tim Bresnan, who failed to defend eight off the last over.

Yorkshire’s 184-5 was underpinned by a series of useful, without being standout, contributions after being invited to bat.

Harry Brook top-scored with 37 off 26 from number three and shared a 57-run stand for the second wicket with opener Adam Lyth, who hit 32.

Gary Ballance (33) and Jonny Tattersall shared 50 for the fourth wicket as Lahore, who included veteran former Pakistan trio Abdul Razzaq, Zulfiqur Babar and Imran Nazir, struggled in the field.

Bresnan and Jack Leaning both hit sixes off New Zealand seamer Mitch McClenaghan in the final over to push the Vikings up beyond 180 on the same pitch used for the Boost v Auckland clash earlier in the day.

But, despite Bresnan getting Nazir caught in the deep for two in the second over, the Vikings did not have enough against a Qalandars side who have finished bottom of the table in each of the first three years of the Pakistan Super League.

Akhtar played with great freedom and excited the Pakistani contingent in the crowd.

He shared 70 for the second wicket with Bilal Irshad (30) to advance from 12-1 in the second over.

Akhtar was handed a life on 51 when given out by the on-field umpire following a boundary catch at long-off by Lyth off leg-spinner Josh Poysden, only for the third umpire to overturn the decision, ruling Lyth had touched the rope.

That would have left the score at 93-3 in the eleventh over. As it was, it proved the turning point.

“I’m really happy with my team and my performance. I tried my best and will hope to do the same in the next match. I was suffering from cramps very badly.  I’m very happy because mostly our players are young. I always wanted to put them into bat because there was a lot of dew on the ground. I’m very happy with my first hundred, and it is the first time I have ever opened the batting.”
Sohail Akhtar, Lahore Qalandars Captain
“I thought we did really well with the bat, and I was really pleased with the score we put on the board. We were confident coming out with the ball. We would have liked some early wickets, but it didn’t quite happen. Josh Poysden and Josh Shaw bowled beautifully through the middle and pulled it back, but we weren’t quite as good as we should have been with the ball, myself especially. It’s cost us.”
Steve Patterson, Yorkshire Vikings’ Captain