When the decision came towards the back end of the English summer, it was no real surprise to anyone that Moeen Ali, 34, was calling time on his Test career.

Even the prospect of adding an away Ashes victory this winter to his illustrious list of achievements wasn't enough to change his mind. He insisted that the decision was based on how he had felt during the series against India. A feeling of being unable to "get in the zone."

"I just didn't feel like I was fully wholeheartedly into it," Moeen had said.

As he belted his way to 77 not out off just 23 deliveries on Saturday night, whilst the Arabian sun set over the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, there was almost a sense of a man just wanting to enjoy whatever remains of his cricketing career. In his typical relaxed nature, Moeen was just getting about doing what he loved best.

He played a beautiful knock under a quite beautiful setting, as he and Kennar Lewis, with a devastating 65 off 32 of his own, made light work of a target of 146. The Northern Warriors reached their target against Team Abu Dhabi without losing a wicket and with five balls to spare.

It was a stunning partnership that broke all sorts of records: the fastest 50 (16 balls) and the highest individual score (77*) of this edition of the Abu Dhabi T10, both to Moeen's name; the highest partnership (146) in Abu Dhabi T10 history and the most sixes by a team (15) in a T10 innings.

Without the thought of the longer format weighing him down, Moeen seems to be thriving in the UAE. From playing an integral role in Chennai Super Kings' IPL winning campaign under MS Dhoni, to playing every game for England at the T20 World Cup under Eoin Morgan, here is a man who is perhaps finally feeling a semblance of the stability that he has always desired.

"There's definitely a freedom in my game [after retiring from Test cricket]," Moeen said after taking the Warriors to the highest chase in T10 history. "I know exactly what I need to work on. Previously, I was switching from format to format which was great, but over time it just weighs you down, and I think that was the thing with me."

Mooen's blitz proved why he was picked in the first round of the Abu Dhabi T10 draft.

A couple of nights ago, he opened up to ESPNcricinfo about the challenges he had been facing within the T10 format.

"I find this really difficult," he admitted. "As you can see. A lot of the guys are big and strong and they can hit the ball miles from ball one. I find that a bit of a struggle. In T10, the guys who are successful are the guys that are big and strong."

All it took to change his mind was a match-winning knock against the league leaders and the strongest side of the tournament. Needing 62 off four overs, the game was still in the balance, but Moeen sent six of the next seven deliveries he faced to the boundary, before Lewis smashed two more sixes off Liam Livingstone's penultimate over to all but seal the victory.

"If you asked me a few days ago, I'd have said that T10 is probably not for me as I'm not one of the big guys, but I guess it shows that you don't have to be big and strong. You just need a bit of power and some timing and today showed me how quickly you can actually score in this format. It was great for my confidence."

Moeen has always been somewhat of a confidence player - someone who has flowed much better with the outright backing of the decision-makers and without the pressure of having a point to prove.

At the IPL, he joked that Super Kings could have dropped him after a few games. Yet, a focus on loyalty across the franchise and the support of Dhoni allowed him the chance to flourish. "They're so calm and clear in what they do. You get the backing here and you want to give it back as much as you can," Moeen had said after the IPL final.

"You don't have to be big and strong. You just need a bit of power and some timing and today showed me how quickly you can actually score in this format."
Moeen on his T10 exploits

Moeen enjoyed the rub of the green early his innings with some top edges to the boundary, but it was enough to encourage him to express himself.

"Sometimes, those top edges are good because it gets you going and you don't worry about the strike rate. Sometimes, when you're going at a run a ball or even when you're like five off three, you still feel a bit under pressure. I didn't have that in the back of my mind after those top edges today, so I knew I could just play."

As Moeen shuts the door firmly on the longest format of the game - an experience he admitted he will miss - one wonders what might have become of Moeen's journey had he not lost his central contract in 2019? Before the Ashes that summer, he had been the leading wicket-taker in the world over the previous 12 months.

For now, here is a man content with where he's at.

"I'm really happy I can just focus on white-ball cricket now," Moeen said.