Enhance, Muscat seize sensational victories in low-scoring thrillers

MUSCAT: Enhance and Muscat CT scored sensational victories over Al Turki NMC and Assarain in low-scoring thrillers at Oman Cricket grassy ground 1 on Friday. In the day’s first game, Al Turki, opting to bat first, was making slow but steady progress at 53 for 3 in the 13th over before a dramatic collapse saw it slump to 68 for 8 in 16 overs. Leg spinner Khawar Ali picked up four quick wickets to hasten Al Turki’s fall as it was dismissed for 90 in the final over of its innings. All-rounders Mehran Khan and Sufiyan Mahmood lent their skipper valuable support by taking two wickets each. Only Kuldeep Salve and Suraj Kumar showed some resistance, scoring 17 and 15 respectively.
Hoping to chase down a small total in a hurry, Enhance had to face a monster in Gopendra Bohara with a white ball in his hand. Blink of an eye and it was 5 down for only 9 runs on the board in the 5th over. Enhance was staring at defeat when Bohara dismissed Sufiyan for a first-ball duck to make it 23 for 6 in the 8th over. Captain Khawar’s fall for 26 made it even worse for Enhance as it slumped to 40 for 7 in the 11th over. Al Turki, however, failed to subdue its man of crisis Khurram Khan (30 not out) who found a fighting comrade in Nestor Dhamba (17 not out) as the duo added a defiant 30 runs for the 9th wicket to steal an improbable win in the final over. Bohara bowled an outstanding spell for his amazing figures of 4-1-7-5 while Ajay Lalcheta bagged two wickets.
Brief scores (Premier League T20): Al Turki NMC 90 all out in 19.5 overs (Kuldeep Salve 17 – 1×4. Khawar Ali 4-12, Mehran Khan 2-13, Sufiyan Mahmood 2-22) lost to Enhance 91 for 8 in 19.4 overs (Khurram Khan 30 not out – 2×4, 1×6, Khawar Ali 26 – 4×4, Nestor Dhamba 17 not out – 1×4, 1×6. Gopendra Bohara 5-07, Ajay Lalcheta 2-18) by 2 wickets.
The day’s second game at the same venue was equally dramatic as Muscat scored a sensational 32-run victory against Assarain despite managing a lowly 109 for 7 in its 20 overs.
Teetering at 57 for 5 in the 13th over, Muscat recovered to post 109 thanks to a fighting 44 by its star all-rounder Ayaan Khan. Kaleemullah and Rafiullah picked up two wickets each.
Failing to show its 50-over form and magic, Assarain found itself in deep trouble at 35 for 6 in the 10th over. However a dramatic assault by talisman Naseem Khushi, who slammed 5 sixes in his 20-ball 34, gave it some hope before wickets fell in quick succession to take the life out of its brief recovery. Missing its captain Zeeshan Maqsood and his all-round prowess more than ever, Assarain’s final score of 77 all out in the 17th over was a poor reflection of a side that has dominated the 50-over format for years. Ayaan, Badal Singh, Rajesh Ranpura and Sandeep Goud claimed two wickets each.
Brief scores (Premier league T20): Muscat CT 109 for 7 in 20 overs (Ayaan Khan 44 – 4×4. Kaleemullah 2-16, Rafiullah 2-35) defeated Assarain 77 all out in 16.2 overs (Naseem Khushi 34 – 5×6. Ayaan Khan 2-06, Badal Singh 2-06, Rajesh Ranpura 2-13) by 32 runs.