Emirates fly high as CSS crashes

Sparkling stuff. That's exactly what Fly Emirates produced to spoil the CSS party. Riding on the magnificent skills of nerveless Khurram Khan, Fly Emirates played excellent all round cricket and gained sweet revenge when they put it across their illustrious rivals and edged past them by 5 wickets on Friday to lift the coveted CSS Homeward Bound Trophy for A Division.

Whoever thought that CSS would run away with the trophy for the third time in the row had to eat his words as Fly Emirates finally got the formula right and established their superiority.

The Fly Emirates team, who has a tendency to falter in the final mile, completed the last lap in grand style at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium when they hardly put a foot wrong and raised the level of performance to dizzy heights.

However, the result merely suggests the intense tussle between two best teams of the local circuit in which the winner was only decided on the penultimate ball of the match.

Daunting though their assignment may have appeared, the airmen mustered all their resources and halted CSS era of superiority in the Sharjah Ramadan cricket.

Electing to bat first after winning the toss for the first time, CSS got off to a reasonably good start when they motored along nicely to 54 for 2 with the dismissals of Rowmahs (16) and Shashikanth (9).

However, Asghar Ali proved again his great ability with the bat when he played a splendid knock where he mixed caution with aggression to give the team the much-needed impetus.

Talented Asghar Ali (75 runs with 9 fours and 2 sixes) teamed up with master class Maqsood (48) and the duo blunted the rivals for a good 100 runs for the third wicket partnership that set the foundations for a meaty total of 191 for 7 in the allocated 35 overs.

Khurram Khan bowled economically to pick up 3 for 28 while Javed Ismail bagged 2 for 40

Confronted with a Herculean task, Fly Emirates then played a very refreshing brand of cricket. When Mohd Imran fell early on, the match came truly alive and a virtual hand-to-hand combat ensued with the atmosphere being simply electric.

Delivering the goods when the chips are down is one of the traits of quality batsmen and thatís exactly what Arshad Ali (32) and Amjad Javed (44) did when they combined skillfully to craft a priceless 58-run stand for the second wicket.

However, one-man demolition artist, Khurram Khan came to the fore and together with Amjad and Fahad Usman steadied the middle order. With Emirates perilously placed at 108 for 4 with the asking rate finding its way to 8 runs an over, the impregnable Khan intelligently mixed care with cunningness and began to unleash his repertoire of shots.

With CSS not letting it slip and keep an equally tight leash on the game, the required run rate at one stage rocketed to around 9 an over but the man of the final played with utmost responsibility and together with Fahad (24 off 24 balls) put together 62 invaluable runs at a quick pace that did the trick for the airmen.

Khurram Khan played a gem of an innings and lashed a match winning 67 not out off 62 with balls with 5 fours and a six under mounting tension to steer his team to glory on the penultimate ball of the innings.

Syed Maqsood and Aqeel Latif picked up 2 wickets each for the losers.

Click Here for Brief Scorecard.

Sunday, November 23, 2003.
source : © UAEcricket.com.

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