Oman Cricket: Sufyan, Yousuf help Dubai Destroyers emerge champions at T20 Arabian Cricket Carnival
October 7, 2017 | 10:31 PM
by A. SESHAGIRI RAO / [email protected]
Dubai Destroyers' Omani star Sufyan Mahmood celebrates with the winners' trophy.

Muscat: Omani stars Sufyan Mahmood and Yousuf Rahim Al Balushi played crucial roles as Dubai Destroyers emerged the champions in the T20 Arabian Cricket Carnival with a 48-run win over Emirates Hurricanes in Bahrain on Saturday night.

In ‘the biggest cricketing event’ held in Bahrain’, where most of the players from Oman impressed with their performances, the Sultanate’s duo of Sufyan and Yousuf Rahim showed in signs of physical and mental fatigue despite playing both their semifinal and the final on the same day.

In fact, in both the semifinal, against Oman Avengers, and the final, Sufyan and Yousuf made vital contributions, leading the Dubai Destroyers to title triumph.

In the semifinal, Sufyan claimed one wicket and took one catch while Yousuf Rahim effected a stumping as Dubai Destroyers managed to restrict Oman Avengers to 174 for seven in 20 overs.

While chasing a challenging target, Sufyan failed with the bat scoring just three runs but Yousuf Rahim smashed 32 off 28 deliveries, with three huge sixes as the Destroyers sealed their final berth scoring 177 for four in 19 overs.

Dubai Destroyers' Omani star Yousuf Rahim Al Balushi celebrates with the trophy.

In the final against Emirates Hurricanes, Sufyan was back to his big-hitting business blasting two fours and two massive sixes in a 15-ball 25 as Dubai Destroyers put up a challenging total of 169 for five in 20 overs.

In their chase, the Hurricanes were progressing rather comfortably reaching 61 for 2 in the eighth over. But Sufyan reduced them to 62 for four with two successive strikes, one a caught and bowled and another a stumping by Yousuf Rahim.

Yousuf went on to effect two more stumpings and was also involved in a run-out as the Destroyers restricted their opponents to 121 for nine in 20 overs to clinch the title.

Speaking to Times Sport, Sufyan Mahmood expressed his delight in proving the ‘doubters wrong’ and for winning the title.

“At the start of the tournament, we were being talked about as the weakest team. People back in Oman and here at the tournament, were sceptical about our team composition and our abilities. They were saying we will not make it beyond the group stage. I am really happy, we as a team proved all of them wrong and went on to win the title,” he said.

“It is very satisfying especially both Yousuf (Rahim Al Balushi) and myself played crucial roles and helped Dubai Destroyers emerge the champions,” he added.

Sufyan also thanked Oman Cricket for giving the permission to play in the Bahrain Carnival.

“I would like to thank Oman Cricket for letting us play in the tournament. I would like to thank my employers Fairtrade LLC without whose support it would not have been possible for me take part in the Arabian Cricket Carnival,” he added.

Individual performances

Essa Rahim Al Balushi who played for Oman Avengers scored 113 runs in six matches.

Meanwhile, Sufyan and Yousuf along with other Oman players Mehran Khan and Aaqib Ilyas have also made it to the list of top individual performers.

Sufyan’s unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 133 runs with Usman Saeed in a group stage match against Bahrain Bravehearts was the highest for any wicket in the tournament.

Sufyan, who made an unbeaten 49 in that match-winning partnership, has scored a total of 139 runs and took five wickets in six matches.

Yousuf Rahim with five catches and seven stumpings, is the third in the list of wicketkeepers with most dismissals. He has also scored 64 runs in four innings.

Mehran Khan, who smashed a 30-ball century with Saudi Arabian Rangers, was the second highest run-scorer with 204 runs, his highest individual score being an unbeaten 107. He also took seven wickets during the tournament. Mehran's Rangers' teammate Khawar Ali played only three innings but scored 114 runs at an average of 57, with an unbeaten 92 being his highest score.

Meanwhile, another Omani talent Essa Rahim Al Balushi who played for Oman Avengers scored 113 runs in six matches with a highest score of 44 while his teammate Aaqib Ilyas affected four stumpings in three matches he had played.

Yousuf Rahim and Essa Rahim thanked their employers Bank Muscat and Ahli Bank respectively for their support.

The other players from Oman who played in the Carnival are Jatinder Singh and Khawar Ali (Saudi Arabian Rangers), Amir Ali (Dubai Destroyers), Sajjad Khan and Bilal Khan (Kuwait Crusaders), Babar Ali and Fayyaz Butt (Bahrain Bravehearts).

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