- Akash Vaishnav
The ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy tournament has just started a couple of days ago. Players from the respective teams are doing their best to meet the expectations. Kerala have proved to be a real case for themselves as potential title contenders especially after winning the first two games.
They locked horns with Puducherry in the first game where they chased down 139 in 18.2 overs. Kerala captain Sanju Samson scored 32 off 26 balls (3 fours, 2 sixes). Opening batsman Mohammed Azharuddeen scored 30 off 18 deliveries with the help of 4 fours and 2 sixes respectively.
Jalaj Saxena brought the best out of himself as he took 3 wickets for Kerala against Puducherry. After starting the tourney on a good note, they locked horns with Mumbai in the second fixture. Mumbai were under pressure already as they lost to Delhi in their first game by 76 runs.
Kerala won the toss and opted to bowl first. Mumbai provided an ambitious start to the game in the form of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Aditya Tare. The duo added value to the scoreboard with 88-run partnership before Tare departed after making 42 off 31 balls (4 fours, 1 six).
After Tare’s departure, Jaiswal too didn’t last long as he ended up scoring 40 off 32 including 4 fours and 2 sixes. Mumbai captain Suryakumar Yadav rolled his sleeves up and scored 38 off just 19 balls including 4 fours and 2 sixes. He maintained a phenomenal strike-rate of 200.
Shivam Dube provided some help down the order by scoring 26 off 13 balls with the help of 2 fours and 2 sixes. Jalaj Saxena and KM Asif were the ones who took wickets for Kerala. The duo took 3 wickets apiece. Mumbai posted a huge total of 196/7 in 20 overs.
Kerala were tasked to chase a colossal total in their allotted quota of 20 overs. The required run rate was over 10 runs an over. Kerala’s opening batsman Mohammed Azharuddeen set the tournament on fire by scoring a blistering knock during the second game against Mumbai at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.
The right-handed batsman stole the spotlight by scoring a 37-ball century with such ease. Initially, he added a 129-run partnership with Robin Uthappa (31). After Robin’s departure, Azharuddeen was in no mood to slow down as he kept on hammering sixes and fours.
The right-handed batsman added a 61-run stand with captain Sanju Samson (22). After Samson’s departure, Azharuddeen finished the match with Sachin Baby at the other end.
Azharuddeen remained unbeaten on 137* off just 54 balls. His innings included a ridiculous 9 fours and 11 towering sixes to his name. The batsman maintained a staggering strike-rate of 253.70.
Azharuddeen’s daddy hundred was a proper computer-game like innings. Fans felt like he was was batting on PS4 or on EA Cricket’07. He was the talking point of the game as he helped his team chase down the target in 15.5 overs.
Kerala lost only 2 wickets during their massive run-chase. They are now placed second in the Elite Group E points table with 8 points behind Delhi’s tally of 8 points. Delhi is ahead of Kerala in terms of Net Run Rate. Both teams will lock horns with each other on January 15 at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
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