A triple-wicket over by opening bowler Wafiq Irfan set up a maiden victory for the Central Smashers, with the devastating spell earning the left-arm fast bowler MVP honours in Game 4 of the Malaysia T20 Super Series at Kinrara Oval on Thursday.
A day after the Western Warriors won their first game of the competition, the Southern Hitters won the toss and elected to bat, but it was the Smashers who set the tone of the match. Irfan squared up Ainool Hafizs, who knicked behind to give the left-armer his first of four wickets for the day. Daniyal Hafeez fell for a golden duck off the very next ball, missing one that swung back in and clattered into his stumps. Arjoon Thillainathan denied Wafiq a hat-trick, but knicked behind off the next delivery to leave the Hitters reeling at 5/3 after two overs.
The wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, with four of the five bowlers used during the Hitters innings taking a wicket. Player of the match Irfan finished with the imposing figures of 4-13, with Fitri Sham (2-13), Lokman Nur Hakim Sahar (1-13), and Muhammad Shahid Adzli (2-11) also bowling well. Adzli bowled the only maiden over of the game, an impressive feat during a T20 match.
Hitters opening batsman Syed Aziz remained resilient despite the wickets falling around him. The Malaysian men’s national team player top-scored for his side with 30 during an innings that included four boundaries. Women’s star Mas Elysa was the only other batter that got into double figures scoring an unbeaten 11 as the team was bowled out for 70 after 16.5 overs.
With an early wicket falling during the second innings, there were signs that the chase was not going to be as simple as it initially appeared. Opening batsman Lokman Nur Hakim Sahar and number three Ahmad Faiz then combined for a partnership worth 14 before a further three wickets fell with the score stuck on 21. Anwar Rahman (4-14) was the destroyer-in-chief as the diminutive left-arm spinner turned a small target into a challenging one, which resulted in the Smashers reeling at 21 for four.
Ajeb Khan, however, was able to make a key contribution for the team as he scored 26 off 20 and helped built a 25-run partnership with Fitri Sham which took the team from 32-5 to 57-6. Sham fell for 9 but Khan was joined by Irfan who finished on 8* as the Smashers completed their chase after 12.3 overs.
MCA T20 Super Series action continues on the 30th September with the Southern Hitters taking on the Northern Strikers.
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