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Mohammad Afzal and Jiju Janardhanan’s breezy knocks lead Maratha Arabians – Brother Gas comeback win in the fourth match of AJMAN T20 CUP

UAE: Maratha Arabians Brother Gas produced a strong comeback from their defeat to Delhi Bulls Future Mattress in their first match to record an emphatic 62-runs win over Ajman Heroes in the fourth match of the AJMAN T20 CUP at the Malek Stadium.


Batting first, Maratha Arabians – Brother Gas posted a mammoth 210 for 7. The architects of their huge score were Mohammad Afzal, who cracked a breezy 83 off 36 balls, and their skipper Jiju Janardhanan, who showed the way, through a fluent 68 runs off 38 balls.

Ajman Heroes cracked before the mighty score they had to chase and could muster only 148 for 8 with Adnan Arif’s knock of 57 going in vain. Saqib Manshad produced a fine spell of 4 for 14 to give his team an impressive victory.

Maratha Arabians won the toss and elected to bat. Their skipper and opener Jiju Janardhanan, fresh from a knock of 55 in the last match against Delhi Bulls – Future Mattress, went for his shots. He hit Ajman Heroes opening bowler Luqman Luki for two boundaries and a six to take 16 runs off the first over. Opener Hamdan Tahir flicked Sanchit Sharma, who bowled the second over, into the hands of Luqman for 4.

Jiju hit Luqman for two consecutive boundaries in the third over. Usman Khan, who joined his skipper, began with an elegant straight driven boundary off Sanchit Sharma. Amjad Gul was introduced in the seventh over and Usman lofted him straight for his first six. Gul struck back in the tenth over when Usman, going on to his knee, hit him into the hands of Adnan Arif for 34.  His knock off 26 balls had four boundaries and two sixes. The pair had put on 66 runs for the second wicket.

Mohammad Afzal joined Jiju and then runs began to flow at a tremendous pace. In the 12th over Afzal hit Gul for a six and two consecutive boundaries. Skipper Adnan Ul Mulk who introduced himself for the 13th over was hit by Jiju for three consecutive boundaries. Afzal hit Adnan for a six and fetched 24 runs from that over.

Jiju’s innings ended in the 14th over when Gul had him hit high to Sanchit Sharma at deep mid-wicket for 68. His knock off 38 balls had eight boundaries and two sixes. Together, Afzal and Jiju had put on 59 runs for the third wicket. Ten runs later, Luqman had Shahnawaz Khan caught behind by wicketkeeper Adnaan Khan for 2. Afzal continued to hit powerful shots and keep the scoreboard moving at a brisk pace. He hit Luqman and Yash for sixes and Dawood Ejaz for two consecutive sixes. Maratha Arabians became the first time to reach the 200 run mark reaching that score in 18.3 overs.

All eyes were on Afzal whether he would get his century. Unfortunately, when on 83, he hit Sanchit Sharma to Dawood Ejaz at wide mid-on. His 83 runs knock off 36 balls had four boundaries and seven sixes. Ejaz then removed Ansh Tandon and Saqib Manshad, both for a duck, to ensure no more runs were added to the total of 210 for 7.

Chasing the mammoth target of 211 to win, opener Adnaan Khan fell in the second over hitting Matiullah Khan high to Mohammad Afzal in the covers for 4. Opener and skipper Adnan Ul Mulk began confidently by producing an elegant on-drive off Matiullah, but at the score on 18 he slashed Saqib Manshad straight to Mohammad Afzal at the covers for 9. Ten runs later, Matiullah Khan clean bowled Faizan Sheikh for 12. When Saqib Manshad removed Dawood Ejaz, who attempted a scoop shot and ended up being caught by Usman Khan at slip for a duck, Ajman Heroes slipped to 28 for 4 in 4.1 overs.

The onus of lifting the team out of trouble now fell on Adnan Arif and Amjad Gul. Together they put on 43 runs for the fifth wicket before Gul got caught by Tandon off Mujahid Ameer for 25. His run-a-ball knock had two sixes and one boundary. Luqman Luki tried to accelerate the run flow through a quick 21 off 15 balls with two boundaries and six but fell stumped by Hamdan Tahir off Shahnawas Khan.

Even though Adnan Arif tried to swell the total through a breezy 57 runs, in the end Ajman Heroes could muster only 148 for 8. Arif’s knock off 47 balls had six boundaries and two sixes.

Speaking about his splendid knock of 83 that won him the Man of the Match award, Mohammad Afzal said: “I decided to forget yesterday’s match and focused on today. My team management had told me to stay on and play out the full overs, and I did it exactly as they said and made sure we had a good total.”

Brief scores:
Maratha Arabians – Brother Gas bt Ajman Heroes by 62 runs. Maratha Arabians – Brother Gas 210 for 7 in 20 overs (Jiju Janardhanan 68, Usman Khan 34, Mohammad Afzal 83, Sancht Sharma 2 for 28, Amjad Gul 2 for 37, Dawood Ejaz 2 for 30) Ajman Heroes 148 for 8 in 20 overs (Adnan Arif 57, Amjad Gul 25, Luqman Luki 21, Saqib Manshad 4 for 14, Matiullah Khan 2 for 48)
Man of the Match: Mohammad Afzal.



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