Heroes bow out of Ajman T20 Cup despite victory over Karwan

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Ajman Heroes’ Khalid Shah in action during their match against Bangla Tigers – Karwan.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Khalid Shah’s elegant 81 runs and Nasir Aziz’s three wicket spell ensured that Ajman Heroes bow out as heroes through a five-runs win over Bangla Tigers – Karwan although they failed to qualify for the semifinals owing to a lower run rate in Ajman T20 Cup powered by Sky Exchange. Net on Sunday night.

Though Ajman Heroes finished with four points and two victories from five matches like Deccan Gladiators -MGM, their lower run-rate resulted in them not making it to the last four.

Ajman Heroes elected to bat after winning the toss. Skipper and opener Adnan Ul Mulk along with Adnaan Khan posted 29 runs in 3.6 overs. Bangla Tigers – Karwan’s Ismail Khan clean bowled Adnan Ul Mulk for 11. Then Adnaan Khan and Khalid Shah took the score to 67 in 7.3 overs when Babar Iqbal trapped Adnaan leg before for 35.

Khalid Shah soon began to unleash his wide range of strokes despite losing Dawood Ejaz for 8 who was caught by Ali Khan at deep point off Babar Iqbal. This was followed by a strong partnership of 69 runs for the fourth wicket between Adnan Arif and Khalid Shah, taking the score to 145 in 16.3 overs. Then Adnan Arif got caught by Salman Khan at deep mid-wicket off Ameer Hamza for 17. One run later, next man Faisal Baigh got bowled by Ameer Hamza for a duck. Though Ibtisham Sait helped the total reach 164, he became Ameer Hamza’s third wicket offering a high catch to Ali Khan on the leg side.

Khalid Shah, who batted brilliantly picking the gaps, stayed on and fell only to fourth ball of the last over. He was brilliantly caught by Fayyaz Ahmed running in from long-off off Umaid Khan for 81 and ensured Ajman Heroes a challenging total of 183 for 7 in 20 overs.

Chasing the target, opener Fayyaz Ahmed and Sagar Kalyan began slowly, wanting to settle down. The first four overs produced only 23 runs. Keshav Sharma who bowled the fifth over, wavered in length yielding 21 runs. He bowled three no balls and three wides. The 50-runs partnership came in 6.1 overs with Sagar Kalyan in full flow scoring 28 of those runs. Though Faisal Baig bowled a tight seventh over giving away just six runs, Ibtisham Sait who bowled the eighth over was hit for 13 runs which included a boundary from Sagar Kalyan and a six from Fayyaz Ahmed. Faisal Baig then bowled another tight ninth over giving away only five runs, but Sagar Kalyan continued to maintain the run flow through his big shots. Baig’s 11th over was the best as he gave away just two runs.

Ibtisham Sait ended the 85-runs opening partnership when he forced Fayyaz Ahmed to top edge to wicketkeeper Adnaan Khan for 22. Sagar Kalyan continued his big hits and scored two consecutive sixes off Ibtisham Sait. Faisal Baig was rewarded for his accurate bowling when he forced Sagar Kalyan to edge to wicketkeeper Adnaan Khan for 59. His knock off 46 balls had four boundaries and four sixes.

Now Ameer Hamza and Ali Khan were left to score 80 runs from the last 7 overs. But Ali Khan lasted only five balls having scored five runs before he got caught by Faisal Baig at point off Keshav Sharma. The 16th over was an eventful one from veteran off spinner Nasir Aziz. He had Ameer Hamza caught by Keshav Sharma for 25, then had Puniya Mehra stumped by wicketkeeper Adnaan Khan for a duck, and later went on to clean bowl Ismail Khan with the very next ball. Bangla Tigers – Karwan thus slipped to 134 for 6. When Nasir took a wicket off a wide ball, it created a debate as to whether it was a hat-trick. According to an international umpire, since the second delivery was not a no-ball, it should be deemed a hat-trick.

With 50 runs needed off the last four overs, Keshav Sharma gave away just six runs in the 17th over. Waqas Jutt hit Luqman Luki for a six in the 18th over to make it 34 runs from two overs. Asif Hayat scored a boundary and six off Keshav in the 19th over to make it 19 from the last over. Ibtisham was hit for a boundary and six by Waqas off the first three balls, but he fell to the fourth ball, caught by Khalid Shah for 24.

Ibtisham held his nerves and gave away only singles off the last two deliveries to ensure Ajman Heroes a five run win. Asif Hayat’s unbeaten 19 went in vain.

Speaking about his elegant knock that won him the Man of the Match award, Khalid Shah said: “This knock came at the right time when my team needed it. I am really happy with my form. I have taken plenty of positives from this tournament to better myself. I will watch my strokes that was televised and further improve my stroke play.”

Brief scores: Ajman Heroes bt Bangla Tigers – Karwan by five runs. Ajman Heroes 183 for 7 in 20 overs (Adnaan Khan 35, Khalid Shah 81, Babar Iqbal 2 for 35, Ameer Ha

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