This week’s Malaysian Super Series action started with the Northern Strikers batting first against the Southern Hitters. Both teams were coming off the back of a loss last week, with the Strikers losing out to the Western Warriors whilst the Hitters lost to the Central Smashers.
The Strikers’ opening pair of Shankar Sathish (19) and Anas Malik (11) built a thirty-run partnership together from the opening three overs. However, Anas Malik scooped Viajy Unni to Anwar Rahman off the final ball of the third over, before Rahman himself trapped a dangerous-looking Shankar Sathish LBW off the first ball of the next over.
Strikers skipper Virandeep Singh, who has been in imperious form since action returned to Malaysia, was the mainstay of the innings as he batted from the third over until the thirteenth. During his stay at the crease, Virandeep scored 59 runs which consisted of three fours and three sixes, including two that were launched over the head of Tanzanian leggie Aaryan Amin. Amin would eventually clean bowl his tormentor with the scoreboard reading 121-4 after 12.2 overs and the possibility of 200 on the cards.
Amir Khan Malik (18), Syazrul Ezat Idrus (14) and Aimal Khan (10) all made important contributions with the bat as the Strikers finished their innings well. Anwar Rahman was the pick of the bowlers for the Southern Hitters finishing on 3-32 from his four overs. The conclusion of the twentieth over saw the Strikers finish on 181-8, meaning that the Hitters required 182 to win.
Moving into the second innings, it was the Strikers who made early inroads as Syazrul Ezat picked up a wicket during the first over. However, Syed Aziz provided resistance to the early pressure as he hit a four and a six from the last two balls of the first over to ensure that the side stayed ahead of the rate. Despite another wicket falling, Aziz (69) and Ainool Hafizs (35) combined for a 65-run partnership which helped keep the Hitters on course to chase their target. The partnership ended when Aziz was run out by a Syarzrul Ezat direct hit with the score on 89-3 after 10.
The Southern Hitters required 93 from the final 10 overs, meaning the game was well poised. However, the Strikers once again gained the upper hand as their bowlers excelled. Virandeep continued to impress, this time with the ball, as he finished with figures of 2-33, whilst there were also meaningful contributions from Pavandeep Singh and Aimal Khan. Despite not picking up a wicket, Pavandeep completed his four overs with an economy of 5.25 while Khan finished with figures of 1-27 from his four overs.
As the runs dried up and wickets fell, the Hitters’ momentum halted and they eventually finished on 156-9 from their 20 overs. The Northern Strikers won the game by 25 runs during what was an impressive team performance.
The next match of the MCA T20 Super Series sees the Central Smashers face off against the Western Warriors on Thursday.
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