Malaysia T20 Super Series Game 7: Central Smashers 190/7 (Anwar Arudin 69, Ammar Zuhdi 35, Syazrul Ezat 2-31, Virandeep 2-32) defeated Northern Strikers 65 ALL OUT (Virandeep 12, Lokman Nur Hakim 3-5, Amirul Syahmi 3-25, Wafiq Irfan 2-7 ) by 125 runs
Explosive innings from Anwar Arudin (69) and Ammar Zuhdi (35) combined with a near flawless display from their seamers, powered the Central Smashers to a 125-run victory over the Northern Strikers in Game 7 of the MCA T20 Super Series.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, the Smashers lost Aslam Khan in the first over when he nicked a Syazrul Ezat delivery to keeper Mohammad Hakim. Getting the ball to snake around, Syazrul justified skipper Virandeep Singh’s decision to give him a third over when Rohit Vyas chipped the seamer to Anas Malik at mid off.
With the score on 22/2 after five overs, belligerent opener Arudin — starved of the strike until then — had had enough. He laid into the Strikers’ spinners with no less than seven maximums, including two slog sweeps that clattered into the stands and a lofted straight drive fetched from well wide of his off stump.
The Strikers then fought back with three quick wickets in the middle overs, including those of Nazril Rahman — who was standing in for regular skipper Faiz Ahamd — and Arudin himself. When the southpaw was dismissed for 69 (42), the Strikers would have been confident of restricting their opponents to around 165.
Sadly for the strikers, eventual Player-of-the-match Ammar Zuhdi (35 off 15) and Wafiq Irfan (23* off 13) had radically different ideas, putting on 38 runs in a thrilling 12-ball partnership.
By the end of the innings, the Smashers had truly smashed 69 runs off the last five overs to set the Northern Strikers 191 for victory.
In the second innings, Wafiq Irfan once again justified the hype that surrounds him, dismissing openers Shankar Sathish and Bhushan Save in the first over. Not to be left out, Amirul Syahmi got rid of Anas Malik before the dangerous Aminuddin Ramly skied the 18-year-old seamer to skipper Nazril Rahman at mid off.
At 25/4 in the 5th over, the Strikers’ hopes rested firmly on the shoulders of skipper Virandeep Singh. However, he perished five balls later to an acrobatic take by keeper Ammar Zuhdi off the bowling of Nazril Rahman.
From then on, the Strikers were well and truly out of the game. Teenage off-spinner Lokman Nur Hakim picked up three handy wickets as the men in blue and purple were dismissed for a paltry 65. Only three Strikers batsmen managed to get into double figures with Virandeep top-scoring with 12.
Ammar Zuhdi was adjudged the Player-of-the-match for his quick-fire innings and for taking four catches behind the stumps.
With that victory, the Smasher’s skipped to the top of the table with two wins out of four. The Western Warriors and the Southern Hitters, each with a game in hand compared to the Smashers and Strikers, will square off on Sunday in Game 8 of the tournament.
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