By Richard Boxall
Cyprus Moufflons enjoyed a special Christmas weekend as they progressed to the final of the CCA BAO Financial Autumn 2022 T20 Cup.
After narrowly squeezing past Bazigar in the quarter final on Christmas Day, they achieved a memorable success over tournament favourites Punjab Lions in the semi-final on Boxing Day.
The hero of both matches, as so often, was Mehran Khan, who blasted 117 from 57 balls, as Moufflons successfully chased their semi final target of 193 for the loss of just three wickets, with 8 balls to spare.
After the loss of two early wickets, Mehran came in to join opener Minhas Khan in a match-winning partnership of 138, before Minhas fell for a valuable 50. Mehran finished the match with his tenth six to send Moufflons into the final.
For Punjab Lions Zeeshan Mehmood (86) and Sushil Kumar (49) had put on a partnership of 119 for the fifth wicket, but the total of 192-9 proved to be not quite enough against a rampant Mehran.
The previous day Moufflons were rather fortunate to beat Bazigar at the quarter final stage. Playing in their first competition, Bazigar had done well to reach the knockout stages, but posted a modest score of 155-9, led by captain Muhammad Fazil (26 not out) and Muhammad Huzaifa (25).
The match was evenly poised with Moufflons on 77-2 in the eleventh over when rain caused the game to be abandoned, and by the DLS calculation which is used in such cases Moufflons were the winners by a mere 4 runs. Mehran was still at the crease having scored 41, but Bazigar were left disappointed and wondering what might have been.
The last quarter final resulted in a comfortable win for Riyaan over Nicosia Tigers, which will progress them to a semi final against Sri Lanka Lions.
Riyaan’s top order all contributed to their score of 159-7, Atta Ullah leading the way with 39. For the Tigers Aminul Islam took 3-33, while Jamil Hossin Linkon was economical with 1-18 from his 4 overs.
Muhammad Shoaib Ahmad destroyed the Tigers’ top order with 4-23, reducing them to 55-5. A 62-run partnership between Md Jahid Hassan (45) and Aminul (22) gave the batting side some hope, but the introduction of Waqas Akhtar into the attack soon changed the course of the game.
He dismissed both Jahid and Aminul and quickly polished off the tail to finish with figures of 4-14 as Tigers were all out for 125, leaving Riyaan winners by 34 runs.