For a man who was deprived of recognition in his native Pakistan despite impressive performances in first-class cricket, Zahoor Khan continues to hit the headlines in the UAE, his adopted home.
The pace bowler, one of the top performers for the UAE at the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia last year, struck vital blows to help defending champions Deccan Gladiators make the perfect start in the 2023 edition of the Abu Dhabi T10 on Tuesday.
Zahoor (2/12) even managed to outshine his illustrious teammate Trent Boult in Gladiators' 22-run win at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.
The 34-year-old dismissed Kusal Perera, the dangerous Sri Lankan opener, in the third over of the innings before claiming the big wicket of Kieron Pollard.
"It was an honour for me to bowl alongside Trent Boult. He is an absolute legend. He was always motivating me to bowl better," Zahoor told the Khaleej Times after the opening match of the Abu Dhabi T10.
"I could have taken three wickets today, but a catch was dropped off my bowling. But I am very happy with the way I bowled tonight.
"And having Boult as a bowling partner is amazing. He encourages you so much. It's a great start for the team. Hopefully I can continue this and become the best bowler of the tournament."
After being asked to bat first, the Gladiator made 118 for eight in 10 overs, thanks to a magnificent 33-ball 68 from Tom Kohler-Cadmore.
While wickets kept falling at regular intervals at one end, Kohler-Cadmore, the 29-year-old English opener, remained unbeaten and hit four fours and six sixes in his knock.
Chamika Karunaratne (3/25) was the most successful bowler for the Strikers.
In reply, New York Strikers managed to score only 96 for six in 10 overs.
Boult, who helped New Zealand reach the World Cup semifinal in India, returned with figures of 1/22 in two overs.
Muhammad Waseem, Zahoor’s UAE captain, top-scored for the Strikers with 26.
Meanwhile, in the second match of the opening night, former champions Northern Warriors (103/5) beat Samp Army (94/8) by nine runs.
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