Malaysia T20: Pavandeep takes 4 as Strikers defend 134 against Warriors

Isaac Lockett reports on the latest action from Malaysia's T20 Super Series which saw the Northern Strikers beat the Western Warriors.

Pavandeep Singh (wearing sunglasses) exults after taking a wicket

Malaysia T20 Super Series Game 10: Northern Strikers 8/138 (Virandeep 55, Abdul Rashid Ahad 2-27, Rajendran 2-29) defeated Western Warriors 69 ALL OUT (Mogan 24, Pavandeep 4-19, Syazrul 2-9) by 69 Runs

A day after the Central Smashers successfully chased 194 against the Southern Hitters, the Northern Strikers were in action against the Western Warriors.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, the Northern Strikers scored 14 off the first over, which included a lofted extra cover drive from Bhushan Save that landed beyond the ropes.

Interestingly, Warriors skipper Shafiq Sharif — making his comeback after a two-game absence due to work commitments — threw the new ball to medium-pacer Rajkumar Rajendran for the first time in the tournament. The move paid dividends as Shankar Sathish edged one through to Sharif himself.

Left-arm spinner Sachinue Hettige and leg-spinner Abdul Rashid Ahad then swung the game in favor of the Warriors with the wickets of Ainool Haqqiem and Aminuddin Ramly respectively. Things went from bad to worse when Neville Liyanage chipped Suharril Fetri to Abdul Rashid Ahad at long off to leave the Strikers reeling at 92/6 in the 15th over.

The ever-consistent Virandeep Singh walked in at number three and top-scored for the Strikers. While viewers have seen him dominate attacks throughout the Malaysian season, Virandeep played the anchor role on a used surface as wickets fell around him. After scoring just 2 of his first 8 balls, he glanced Rajendran down to fine leg for four followed up by a shovel behind square for another boundary.

However, Hettige came in for some tap when Syazrul Ezat swept him away for a pair of maximums. He perished two balls later, but not before he’d scored 19 in just 8 deliveries. Virandeep then changed tack with a few lusty blows, including a signature maximum down the ground, to close out the innings at 138/8.

To kick off the Warriors’ reply, Ahmad Zubaidi struck a pair of impressive boundaries before being trapped in front by a Syazrul Ezat inswinger.

Strikers skipper Virandeep decided to change up his bowling attack, bringing in Neville Liyanage to counter the threat of Shafiq Sharif. The move paid off as the left-armer trapped the Warriors’ talisman in front for 1 (3).

Pavandeep Singh (wearing sunglasses) celebrates one of his four wickets

Known as a man for a crisis, Suharril Fetri was sent in at 5 to arrest the Warriors’ slide. However, when he attempted a cut off Pavandeep Singh, the ball got big on him and lobbed straight to skipper Virandeep at backward point for the first of Pavandeep’s four wickets.

Things went from bad to worse when Pavandeep whipped out a pair of pinpoint accurate arm balls to send both Rajkumar Rajendran and Sachinu Hettige packing, the former’s dismissal leaving the Warriors reeling at 61/8.

Two overs later, the Warriors ran out of wickets and were bowled out for 69 in just 13.3 overs. The in-form duo of Dhivendran Mogan (24) and Sharvin Muniandy (21) put up some much-needed resistance, but it was eventual Player-of-the-match Pavandeep who stole the spotlight in a 69-run win that took the Strikers to 2nd on the table. With 6 points from 5 games, they sit just behind the Central Smashers on NRR.

The next game of the Super Series sees the Warriors come up against the Smashers on Saturday.

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