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Jiju Janardhanan’s show as captain carries Maratha Arabians – Brothers Gas into the final of the AVR PAY NEWS AJMAN T20 CUP

ABU DHABI: Jiju Janardhanan’s exemplary show as captain, which included a half century and an accurate bowling spell that removed two top batsmen, ensured Maratha Arabians – Brothers Gas a place in the final of the AVR PAY NEWS AJMAN T20 CUP. 

 In the first semifinal at the Malek Stadium, Maratha Arabians – Brothers Gas restricted Deccan Gladiators – MGM to 120 in 19.1 overs and won the match by eight wickets in 16.3 overs riding on Jiju Janardhanan unbeaten 52 off 47 balls with five boundaries, well supported by Mohammad Afzal’s unbeaten 42 off 23 balls with four boundaries and two sixes. The two put on an unbeaten 64 runs for the third wicket. Earlier, Jiju removed the cream of Deccan Gladiators – MGM batting by dismissing their openers Hameed Khan and Ansar Khan.

The day began with Deccan Gladiators – MGM winning the toss and electing to bat. They got off to a promising start with opener Hameed Khan hitting Maratha Arabians – Brothers Gas opening bowler Saqib Manshad for four consecutive boundaries and taking 18 runs off the first over.

In the second over, Maratha Arabians – Brothers Gas struck back through their captain Jiju Janardhanan when he had opener Ansar Khan for a duck caught behind by wicketkeeper Hamdan Tahir who was flying towards the slips. Of the last ball of the second over, Jiju also removed opener Hameed Khan caught by Mujahid Ameen at deep point for 16.

Mayank Chaudhary and Laxman Manjrekar took the score to 37 when Hazrat Bilal had Mayank caught by Harry Bharwal diving to his right at point for 9.  Young Aayan Khan joined Manjrekar. Except for one boundary scored by Aayan Khan off Hazrat Bilal in the seventh over, the pair could not get any more boundaries. At the halfway mark, Deccan Gladiators – MGM were 68 for 3.

In the 12th over, Manjrekar got a boundary off Mujahid Ameen through the covers. Aayan Khan, while attempting to cut, got caught behind by wicketkeeper Hamdan Tahir off Harry Bharwal for 24 in the 13th over. He had put on 44 runs for the fourth wicket with Manjrekar. In the 14th over, Manjrekar too departed chasing a delivery outside the off stump into the gloves of wicketkeeper Hamdan Tahir off Hazrat Bilal for 27.  Five wickets were down for 83 in 13.1 overs

Adeel Malik, who was expected to lift the team to a big total, made only 10 runs before he offered an easy catch to Hazrat Bilal at deep cover off Saqib Manshad. At the score of 100, Danish Qureshi got caught by Jiju Janardhanan at covers off Omer Farooq for 1.  Twenty runs later, Waqas Ali, who was stroking well, got bowled by Omer Farooq for 22. Omer Farooq also trapped Saifullal Noor leg before with the next delivery. Skipper Ghulam Mustafa was the last to fall bowled by Mujahid Ameen for 4. The last four wickets fell at the score of 120.

Chasing a run rate of six runs an over, opener Jiju Janardhanan and Hamdan Tahir had to start off by facing left-arm spinners Ahmed Shafiq and Aaayan Khan.   Shafiq gave only four runs off the first over while Aayan yielded only five from the second. In the third over, Jiju hit Shafiq for a boundary but still only six runs came off that over. Aayan Khan refused to give any boundary and bowled a good fourth over. From the first five overs, Maratha Arabians – Brothers Gas managed to score 33 runs.

The first wicket fell in the sixth over when Danish Qureshi had Hamdan Tahir caught behind by wicketkeeper Mayank Chaudhary for 9. Usman Khan joined Jiju who had by then started striking well and picking the gaps.  The score went past the 50-run mark in the eighth over.  At the score of 58, Saifullah Noor clean bowled Usman Khan for 11.

Mohammad Afzal joined Jiju, who batted with an eye on the run rate. In the 11th over, Afzal scored two consecutive boundaries off Adeel Malik. The 100-run mark came in 14.5 overs. Jiju reached his half century in 46 balls. Mohammad Afzal hit the third ball of the 17th over for a six to book his team’s place in the final.

Speaking about his team’s entry into the final and his fine allround show, Jiju Janardhanan, who won the Man of the Match award said: “We were delighted to have bowled them out for 120. Chasing such totals must be done carefully and so we decided not to aim for sixes and boundaries but keep maintaining the run flow. Experience has taught me how to chase small scores. I am happy to be among the runs now since I had been struggling a bit before this tournament. I am happy that I have runs on my back now.”

Brief scores
Maratha Arabians – Brothers Gas bt Deccan Gladiators – MGM by 8 wkts. Deccan Gladiators – MGM 120 in 19.1 overs (Laxman Manjrekar 27, Aayan Khan 24, Waqas Ali 22, Jiju Janardhanan 2 for 11, Hazrat Bilal 2 for 19, Omer Farooq 3 for 32)  Maratha Arabians – Brothers Gas 122 for 2 in 16.3 overs (Jiju Janardhanan 52n.o, Mohammad Afzal 42n.o) Man of the Match: Jiju Janardhanan.

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