Alex Hales blasted an unbeaten 57 from off 26 balls for the Maratha Arabians – but still finished on the losing side on his T10 League debut in Sharjah.
Chasing 122 to win, he hit five fours and four sixes, but received little in the way of support as his team lost by 25 runs.
The Arabians eventually closed on 96-7 as Pakistan star Shahid Afridi took 3-19, including a hat-trick that included big names Rilee Rossouw, Dwayne Bravo and Virender Sehwag.
Pakhtoons had earlier piled up 121-4, thanks in the main to a stand of 80 between Fakhar Zaman, who made 45 not out, and Englishman Liam Dawson, who scored 44.
The opening night of the tournament attracted a crowd of around 11,000, with the other game seeing Kerala Kings beat the Bengal Tigers by eight wickets as Irishman Paul Stirling hit 66 not out.
Meanwhile, two Notts Outlaws T20 Blast winners have come head to head in a Super Smash game – New Zealand’s T20 League – when Wellington took on Northern Districts.
Samit Patel made 31 from 27 balls with three fours and one six before being dismissed by former team-mate Ish Sodhi, as Dean Brownlie took the catch.
The all-rounder’s contribution helped Wellington finish on 176-5 from their 20 overs, with Sodhi taking 2-21 from his four overs.
In reply, Northern Districts fell short on 144-7, despite Sodhi’s 51 from 36 balls batting at number eight.
Patel completed a solid match with 1-29 from his four overs after opening the bowling, removing Brownlie for 25.
In Australia, England Lions, featuring Notts' Paul Coughlin, lost the deciding T20 match in a three-game series against reigning Big Bash champions Perth Scorchers by six wickets.
Keaton Jennings' 45 helped the visitors to 163-7 btting first, but the hposts knocked off the required runs by reaching 164-4 as William Bosisto made 66 at the top of the order.
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