Muscat: Defending champion Assarain and resurgent Enhance registered contrasting victories in their Premier Division games played at Ministry of Sports Affairs grounds in Al Amerat on Saturday.
While Assarain, packed with potential match-winners, were given tough time by Passage to India (PTI) in their 27-run win, Enhance proved good for Al Turki MNC as all their trump cards, Mehran Khan, Sufyan Mahmood and Khurram Khan, fired to make it a one-sided affair.
With 12 points from four games, Assarain closed the gap on table toppers Muscat CT, who have yet to lose a match and lead the team standings with 13 points from three outings. With their latest win, Enhance shot to third place on the table with nine points from four outings.
Al Turki are now relegated to fourth spot with four points while winless PTI remain at the bottom.
In the match played at MOS Ground I, PTI wrested the initiative by sending Assarain in, leaving their opponents in deep trouble at 71 for five by the 19th over.
However, showing their trademark trait to never say die, Assarain bounced back in style with their number six to nine batsmen making significant contributions. By the time PTI completed their quota of 50 overs, Assarain had put a sizable total on board, scoring 269 for seven.
Batting at No. 6, Muhammed Nadeem stopped the slide with a fighting 41 and a 77-run sixth wicket partnership with Gustav Burger, who scored a fluent 50. Naseem Khushi (66 not out off 44) and Vinukumar Gopalakrishnan (35 off 17) then launched an amazing onslaught, stealing 54 runs off the last four overs with a flurry of fours and sixes.
Rana Muhammed Naeem of PTI caused the early damage, returning with impressive figures of four wickets for 56 runs in his 10-over spell. Mohammed Bilal bowled well too for his two wickets.
PTI started off well with a 75-run stand from their openers but they both left quickly, leaving the score at 77 for two in the 17th over. With remaining batsmen failed to convert their good starts into big scores, PTI were finally bowled out for 242 in the 47th over. Rana Safeer Tariq (45 off 35), Muhammed Sajjad Ali (41 off 40) and Zeeshan Siddiqui (39 off 40) all looked good before getting out and leaving the chase to someone else.
Skipper Zeeshan Maqsood led the bowling honours for Assarain by taking three wickets. He was supported well by Vinukumar Gopalakrishnan and Sindo Michael who took two wickets each.
Brief scores: Assarain 269 for 7 in 50 overs (Naseem Khushi 66, Gustav Burger 50, Muhammed Nadeem 41, Vinukumar Gopalakrishnan 35; Rana Muhammed Naeem 4/56, Muhammed Bilal 2/43) beat PTI 242 all out in 26.3 overs (Rana Safeer Tariq 45, Muhammed Sajjad Ali 41, Zeeshan Siddiqui 39, Rana Muhammed Naeem 28; Zeeshan Maqsood 3/54, Vinukumar Gopalakrishnan 2/21, Sindo Michael 2/33).
Mehran hits unbeaten ton
Mehran Khan’s scintillating 121 not out, punctuated with 10 towering sixes, lifted Enhance to a robust total of 253 for five in 50 overs. Khurram Khan (42 off 47) and Khawar Ali (22 of 29) were the other notable scorers. Ajay Lalcheta bagged two wickets for Al Turki.
Struggling at 68 for five, Al Turki never recovered from the early shocks and were bundled out for 130 in the 41st over. Gulam Shaikh scored a sedate 58 before he was retired out. Sufyan Mahmood triggered the PTI collapse with early strikes, taking three top order wickets for just 28 runs. Ahmed Fayyaz Butt removed the tailenders, taking three for 20.
Sufyan with 11 wickets from four matches is now the leading wicket-taker in the Premier Division this season.
Brief scores: Enhance 253 for 5 in 50 overs (Mehran Khan 121 n.o., Khurram Khan 42 n.o., Khawar Ali 22; Ajay Lalcheta 2/50) bt Al Turki NMC 130 all out in 40.4 overs (Gulam Shaikh 58, Ahmed Fayyaz Butt 3/20, Sufyan Mahmood 3/28).
Shahil lifts Al Mada
A superb all-round show by Shahil Mohammed helped Al Mada Engineering to a 38-run victory against FAP UTSC in a B Division match at Muscat Municipality Ground III on Friday.
Asked to bat first, Al Mada were all out for 202 in 29 overs, captain Suraj Rao top-scoring with 58 off 34. Shahil Mohammed (49) and Ashok Patil (41) made good contributions. Shafeel Meethalakath and Shaidh K claimed two wickets each.
Al Mada bowled well to dismiss FAP UTSC for 164 in the 25th over. Shahil Mohammed, Guru Prasad Kotian and Nishanth Menon bagged three wickets apiece. Only Mohammed Jafar Perumbala (45 off 36) and Shaidh K (43 off 41) batted well for FAP team.
Brief scores: Al Mada Engineering 202 all out in 29 overs (Suraj Rao 58, Shahil Mohammed 49, Ashok Patil 41; Shafeel Meethalakath 2/20, Shaidh K 2/22) bt FAP UTSC 164 all out in 24.4 overs (Mohammed Jafar Perumbala 45, Shaidj K 43; Shahil Mohammed 3/15, Guru Prasad Kotian 3/21, Nishanth Menon 3/28).