Four matches were played on February 1, 2019, at the AJCC and MCC, Ajman (Dubai) that ushered MHKSL IV into the latter part of the group stage contest.
In the first game of the day, Hokarsar Rangers took on Bohrikadal Badshah -for the unprecedentedness of this contest in having taken the game to unimaginable heights – it shall form the conclusive part of this press note.
The second match of the day was played between Razay Kadal Falcons and Chrar-e-sharif Cavalry. Chrar-e-Sharif won the toss and elected to bat. Arif Ahmed was caught for naught in the first over. Unlike his prowess with the bat in earlier matches, Annayat could not hold his own and was caught in the fifth after scoring 16 runs. With three wickets down for 37 runs, the innings was steadied by their talismanic Anzar Ashraf ably assisted by Farhan Waheed – the duo scored a brisk 69 once Farhan was caught after having scored 41 runs. Another formidable partnership flourished between Anzar and Usman Tramboo with Anzar falling on 73 with the team scoreline on 173 in the eighteenth over. Chrar-e-Sharif scored 202 runs in 20 overs having lost eight wickets with a contribution of 23 & 19 runs by Tramboo and Khatana respectively. Aabid Rajab with figures of 3 for 40 was the highest wicket-taker from RKF.
Taken in isolation Sandeep Bhan and Aabid Rajab (41 off 28) put up a decent opening wicket partnership of 68 runs – a far cry if compared to their unbroken blitzkrieg of 268 runs against Safa Kadal Stars on January 11, 2019. Other than Arif Bhat & Vishal Bhan scoring 37 & 17 runs respectively, Sandeep Bhan was the leading scorer with 51 off 42 balls. Razay Kadal Falcons were bowled out for 179 having lost four wickets. Usman Bhat with 2 for 31 was the highest wicket-taker from Chrar-e-Sharif. Anzar was adjudicated man of the match for his batting display.
Razay Kadal versus Chrar-e-Sharif Cavalry was followed by a low scoring game between Safakadal Stars and Lalbazar Lions. Having won the toss, Safakadal elected to bat but were bundled out for 98 runs in 16.5 overs with spirited spells from Danish Mirza (3 for 14), Adil Ahmed (2 for 17), & Shafat Reshi (3 for 11). Faziq Qureshi with 21 runs and Faru Shah with 20 runs were the main scorers from Safakadal Stars. LBL made short work of the target score in 8.1 overs with Suhail Zaki scoring a quickfire 47 off 20 balls and Feroz Iqbal chipping in 17 runs. This was the first win for Lal Bazar Lions from four games and offered some breather. Danish clinched man of the match for his thrifty bowling.
Manasbal Mavericks were pitted against Lalchowk Leopards. Having won the toss Manasbal Mavericks opted to bat. Musa Khan and K Majed Khan flourished a brilliant opening partnership scoring 106 in 11.4 overs with Kamjed falling to Rameez Mushtaq on 41. Musa carried on piling the runs before being caught by Mohsin Nisar off Adnan Nisar on 71. This was Musa’s fourth consecutive fifty in as many matches continuing to enthrall the spectators with his flair and brilliant stroke play. Mohsin Hassan and Manzoor Najar cobbled another significant partnership of 54 runs. Najar made a quickfire 39 runs off 16 balls with Mohsin being caught by Nasir Khan off Danish Hafiz scoring 23 runs in the twentieth over. The Mavericks eventually put up a total of 195 runs losing six wickets. Nasir Khan with 3 for 45 and Mohsin Nisar with 2 for 45 were the main wicket-takers for LCL.
Danish Hafiz & Moazam Naqash put up a defiant response scoring 95 runs until Moazam was bowled out by Owais Rashid in the ninth over on 17. Danish got out in the twelfth over scoring an impressive 79 off 43. With 19 runs from Basir Sajjad, none of the other players from the Leopards offered any significant contribution & lost the game scoring 170 with eight wickets down. Zubair Zahoor with 4 for 21 & Najar with 2 for 35 were the main wicket-takers for Manasbal Mavericks. For his economic 4 wicket haul, Zubair Zahoor was adjudicated man of the match.
When the captains, Abid Parray & Imran Malik stepped on the pitch to toss the coin, the MCC ground came across as one of the most beautiful places on this planet – its verdure brightened by a ray of glorious early afternoon sunshine and the blades of grass in perfect symphony with the gentle breeze wafting across the outfield. It was Imran’s call and he opted to bat. Having played three group matches Bohri Kadal Badshah had already lost two – a win for Badshahs’ was crucial in order to have a decent chance to go through into the quarter-finals. The performances of Tajamul Wani in the previous matches belied his prowess with the bat but he assumed his true avatar against Hokarsar. The opening pair of Imran & Tajamul put up a decent partnership of 37 runs in 2.4 overs before Imran was caught by Nadeem Reshi off Abid Parray for 18 runs – it was followed by a more substantial partnership of 103 runs between Tajamul and Suhail Qadir before Samiullah Najar’s beguiling off-break clinched an edge to be caught behind the stumps by Nadeem Reshi on 23. Tajamul kept one end intact well into the eighteenth over and in the process scored a whirlwind 150 off 63 balls- the highest individual score in all the editions of KSL. It was a batting spectacle that which left the spectators spellbound. Another notable contribution was that of Issar Ashraf who scored 29 runs off 12 balls. The Badshahs’ managed to put up a mammoth total of 259 in 20 overs with the loss of eight wickets – the second highest match score in KSL IV. Amjad Khan was the leading wicket-taker from Hokarsar finishing off with figures of 27 for 3, Idris Mir clinching two wickets, Abid Parray and Samiullah Najar one a piece.
Hokarsar Rangers got off to a brisk start but lost Idris Mir in the second over with the team score on 22. Undaunted by an early debacle, Samiullah Najar unleashed an array of masterful and commanding stokes but was caught in the fourth over – in the process scoring 21 off 9 balls- in a manner this classical defiant vignette from Samiullah engendered belief, and with Amjad Khan joining Bilal Wani at the crease one could witness a fusion of nobility and leonine power shaking hands intermittently and interchangeably. The two wielded their willows with aplomb and dexterity- it was anything but slogging – copybook stroke plays it assuredly was! The dynamics of their individual batting, severally and collectively, barred the run-rate venturing into forbidden dominions – they always had it at the beck and call of their willows-it appeared they were in no hurry to meet the target, albeit rather using the ball for private pleasure. Bilal Wani was caught in the twelfth over with the team scoreline reading 158. He scored a magnificent 65 off 31 balls having just completed his journey from his workplace in Saudi Arabia into the U.A.E a couple of hours before the start of the match. Hokarsar lost three quick wickets in the thirteenth over of otherwise illustrious batsmen- Nadeem Reshi, Furqan Ashiq & Umer Wali. Unfazed, skipper Abid Parray stepped in and scored a vehement quickfire 31 off 14 before being caught by Sheikh Owais off Imran Malik in the seventeenth over – Hokarsar Rangers were 225 for 7 in 16.2 overs. With the mainstay of batting gone, save Amjad, Sajjad Ahmed Mir stepped in – the buoyancy of the team did rub on him well and he ably held his end to enable Amjad to reach his well deserved century in the eighteenth over – even finish off the game with a deft square cut off Imran Malik. Hokarsar overhauled 259 of the BohriKadal Badshah scoring 261 with seven balls to spare-unprecedented in the annals of MHKSL contests. Imran Malik was the highest wicket taker having clinched 4 wickets for 53 runs followed by Suhail Qadir with 2 for 46 runs.
When the saga ended, Amjad could not contain his pent-up emotions – he did allow his feelings to flow unabashedly – although past his prime no batsman seemed at high noon as him on that memorable evening – no wonder he was awarded the pride of performance of delivering the ball and returning it with a measured class!