Game 3: Southern Hitters v Central Smashers
Central Smashers 103/6 (Faiz Ahmad 64, Syazrul Idrus 2-16, Virandeep 2-25) TIED with Southern Hitters 103/3 (Virandeep 40*, Suharril Fetri 1-16, Amir Khan 1-17)
Skippers Virandeep Singh and Faiz Ahmad stole the spotlight in a breathtaking tied game to kick off Day 2.
After being put in to bat, Virandeep and Mohammas Gulraiz got the Hitters off to a flyer, despite losing Bushan Save in the very first over, propelling the score to 40/1 at the end of the Power Play.
The next two overs, however, only yielded a combined 11 runs with Gulraiz skying off-spinner Suharril Fetri to Sumanth Kadri at backward point.
This did not stop Virandeep, who carted Fetri over long on for his first maximum before revere-sweeping brother Pavandeep over third man for four.
Swashbuckler Aminuddin Ramly struggled from the other end, scratching his way to a 23-ball 30 as Smashers’ seamer Amir Khan continued his fine form, dismissing Ramly in the final over to keep the Hitters to a seemingly below-par 103.
In reply, Syazrul Idrus yorked southpaw Mohsan Idrees from around the wicket in the very first over. This brought skipper Faiz Ahmad to the crease, who got off to a quick start with a pair of sumptuous back foot drives off Vijay Unni.
However, Muhammad Gulraiz got one to swing back and clatter into in-form Anwar Arudin’s leg stump to close out the Power Play. Things went from bad to worse when Amir Khan top edged Gulraiz to Vijay Unni running in from deep cover, to leave the Smashers reeling at 38/3 at the halfway point.
And then came the Faiz Ahmad show.
The skipper charged down the track to loft Sulaiman Ali over his head before easily clearing the man at deep mid-wicket for two maximums to close out the 7th over. All-rounder Ajeb Khan joined in the fun with two consecutive maximums of Virandeep.
After Ajeb’s dismissal for 17 (7), spearhead Syazrul Idrus was entrusted with the penultimate over, claiming the wicket of Faiz, but not before leaking 14 runs in the process.
With the equation down to 8 off 5, Rizwan Haider pummeled a Vijay Unni full toss over long on to bring the equation down to 2 off 4.
Unni then got nailed his line outside the off-stump with Rizwan unable to reach two consecutive deliveries angling away from him. With 2 required off the last two balls, Haider had had enough. He charged out of his crease, made no connection with a wild swing, but to his relief Vijay Unni had overstepped.
With 1 required off 2, Rizwan had yet two more chances to put the game to bed. However, the right-hander played and missed twice more as Unni celebrated pulling off a heist with both teams sharing a point.
Game 4: Northern Strikers v Western Warriors
Northern Strikers 133/4 (Mohamed Imam 81, Mubarak 39, Mogan 2-22) defeated Western Warriors 74/7(Muniandy 20*, Anwar Rahman 3-17, Z. Fazal 1-5) by 59 runs
Mohamed Imam bludgeoned 9 maximums on his way to a 27-ball 81 to set up a huge victory for the Northern Strikers, their first of the tournament.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat, the Strikers got off to a horrid start when Ahmad Zubaidi Zulkifle attempted a suicidal run off his first ball only for bowler Fitri Sham to run him out at the non-striker’s end.
It was all-downhill from there, however, as Imam deposited a series of full-tosses from Rajkumar Rajendran and Dhivendran Mogan over the leg side boundary to muscle the Strikers to 54/1 after four overs.
Skipper Syed Aziz Mubarak provided support from the other end, greeting Sharvin Muniandy with an elegant lofted drive over the man at the deep cover fence. He perished in an attempt to repeat the dose, but the Strikers were still in the front seat at 81/2 in the 6th over.
Imam wasn’t done yet, demonstrating his street smarts when he scooped Munaindy over the keeper’s head for six. He was treated to more half volleys and full tosses from a jaded bowling line-up, who watched another four maximums fly over the leg side boundary off the bat of Imam. A 7-run last over from Mogan proved too little too late as the Warriors were set a dizzying 134 for victory.
Despite 16 coming off the first over, the Warriors were never in with a shout. Armed with a whippy action, Zahid Fazal pulled things back in the 2nd over, conceding just a run and picking up the wicket of Daniyal Hafeez.
Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals with even the highly regarded duo of Shafiq Sahrif and Sharvin Muniandy barely able to get the ball off the square.
Faiz Ahmad Nasir’s pair of lusty blows towards the end was merely a consolation as the Warrior’s fell 59 runs short.
Game 5: Central Smashers v Northern Strikers
Central Smashers 115/6 (Arudin 65, Sathish 20, Fazal 2-18) defeated Northern Strikers 110/7 (Jamaludeen 21*, Hafizs 16, Fetri 2-13) by 5 runs
On the back of Anwar Arudin’s 65 (29), the Smashers overcame the failure to close out the tied morning game against the Hitters by registering a 5-run win over the Strikers.
After winning the toss and batting first, Arudin got into his stride in the 3rd over, slicing Strikers’ skipper Syed Aziz Mubarak over point for four before pulling him over deep mid wicket for a maximum. A pair of straight hits followed in the next over, as the Smashers reached 50/1 after 4.
Abdul Rashid Ahad was unable to keep a lid on Arudin as the southpaw pummeled two maximums off the hapless leggie, the second of which was slog swept into the stands.
His departure in the 8th over with the score on 95, helped the Strikers restrict their opposition to an approximately par 115.
In reply, Mubarak got his team off to a flying start with three consecutive boundaries off Janidu Himsara to close out the first over. Even after he bottom edged Pavandeep Singh through to the keeper, Ainool Hafizs and Mohamed Imam kept coming at the Smashers’ bowlers, the former slog sweeping Pavandeep over the long on fence.
At 43/1 at the end of the Power Play, the Strikers were in the box seat.
Suharril Fetri, however, had other ideas. He forced Imam to reach for a wide one, which he could only manage to hit to deep cover before Hafizs lost his shape, top-edging the off-spinner to Anwar Arudin at third man.
The Strikers continued to lose wickets at regular intervals, eventually requiring 34 off the last 2 overs for victory. Pavandeep’s expensive outing continued when the first delivery of the penultimate over was swatted over the long off boundary by Jamaludeen Ariff.
Unfortunately for the Strikers, they were unable to clear the ropes for the remaining 11 ball of the chase as Amir Khan comfortably defended 20 runs off the final over to send the Smashers to the top of the table.
Game 6: Western Warriors v Southern Hitters
Southern Hitters 101/2 (Ramly 88*, Fitri Sham 2-19) defeated Western Warriors 95/9 (Sharif 32, Muniandy 32, Vijay Unni 2-15) by 8 wickets with 3.2 overs to spare
Aminuddin Ramly shook off his cobwebs with a belligerent 88* (27) as the Hitters displaced the Smashers at the top of the table, booking their spot in Sunday’s first Semi-Final against the winless Warriors.
Batting first upon winning the toss, the Warriors lost Daniyal Hafeez without a run on the board. Potentially mindful of a shallow batting line-up, Sharvin Muniandy and Shafiq Sharif ticked along without really going berserk.
There was hope that would change when Sharif closed out the 5th over with a slog sweep over mid wicket for the Warrior’s first maximum of the night, bringing their total to 49/1. Shafiq continued to threaten in the next over with a flat hit over the long off boundary off Vijay Unni.
However, when he skied one to Syazrul Idrus at long on, it kick-started a collapse with the Warriors finishing on a below-par 95/9.
Defending a low total, skipper Fitri Sham prized out openers Bushan Save and Rehan Mahmood with a pair of arm balls that crashed into their pads before either could open their account.
Walking in at 4, the unfazed Aminuddin Ramly was begun his relentless assault.
Dhivendran Mogan let the swashbuckler off the hook by bowling on both sides of the wicket before Ramly launched 19 off the final over of the Power Play, highlighted by a ferocious pull over deep mid wicket off Sharvin Muniandy.
Sharveen Surendran would drag a few down, which Ramly took advantage of to collect 16 off the fourth over. With Fitri Sham mysteriously holding himself back, Ramly would continue to pounce on short deliveries from the rest of the Warriors’ attack as mishits also carried over the ropes.
Sham returned to the bowling crease with a mere 12 required off the remaining four overs. The merciless Ramly treated him with disdain, pulling him around the corner for a maximum that landed outside the ground before dancing down the track to pulverize a full toss over deep mid wicket to close out the game.
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