Cyprus Mail

Muhammad scores on and off the pitch

Daniel Weston of the European Cricket Network and Muhammad Husain of the Cyprus Cricket Association at the signing of their expanded partnership agreement

By Richard Boxall

It has been an eventful few days for Cyprus Cricket Association chairman Muhammad Husain.

During the week he signed an agreement to continue and expand the partnership with European Cricket Network, a company that has become very influential in cricket on the continent in recent years.

The deal will see further cricket tournaments being played in Cyprus, as well as Cypriot clubs and the national team taking part in international events in mainland Europe. There will also be some investment in the grassroots development of the game on the island.

“Cyprus is a fascinating place which has all the attributes of being a great cricket country, thanks to its weather, demographics and love for sport.” said Daniel Weston, founder of the European Cricket Network. “We have a deep desire to support Muhammad and his cricket community in Cyprus to bring cricket to as many school kids as possible. At the same time, the skills of the senior cricketers in Cyprus we have seen, with their abilities to hit the cricket ball a long way suggests to me that a team from Cyprus has a major chance to win the ECL or ECC in the years to come.”

“Together, we will shape the future of cricket in Cyprus and create a lasting impact.”

Then on Saturday Muhammad turned his attention to on-field matters, hitting a century to lead Moufflons to a 5-wicket win over Black Caps in the 2023 CCA BAOFinancial 40 Over Cup at the Happy Valley ground.

Black Caps started the game well, with an opening partnership of 97 between Kulwinder Singh (47) and Pawandeep Paul, who then added a further 89 with Karanvir Singh (36) before eventually falling for 86 out of a total of 236. For Moufflons, Sushil Kumar took 4-53 and Waqar Ali 3-38.

Moufflons slipped to 49-4 before Muhammad joined Sushil in a 146-run partnership which swung the match Moufflons’ way. Sushil fell for 58 but Muhammad stayed till the end, his unbeaten 112 containing 11 sixes and seeing Moufflons through to victory with 9 overs and 5 wickets in hand.

The day’s other 40 over game was a close contest between Cyprus Super Kings and Limassol Zalmi, which the former wion by 20 runs. The Super Kings, having conceded so many extras recently, this time benefitted from 78 of them. Together with major contributions from Manikanya Ranimekala (68), Srinivas Angarekkala (51) and Subareddy Alavala (43) this enabled them to reach a challenging total of 292.

Zalmi’s reply was led by Umar Shah’s 84 but he did not receive enough support, and Subareddy (4-44) and Manikanta (3-59) were able to bring the Super Kings to victory.

Four matches were played in the T20 league, resulting in comfortable wins for the two Sri Lankan teams and Black Caps, and a nailbiter between Moufflons and Nicosia Tigers.

Tigers made 144-7 thanks to 45 from Aminul Islam and 39 by Yasir Mehmood, with Moufflons’ Gurdeep Sharma taking 3-24. But despite another good innings by Muhammad Husain (40) and 34 each from Atta Ullah and Shoaib Ahmad, Moufflons were halted by a spell of 3-6 in 4 overs by Tigers’ Rasedul Hasan, and fell just short on 141-9, losing by just 3 runs.

Black Caps scored 219-6, with Ankit Kumar (85), Rajinder Singh Brar (50) and Lovedeep Singh Sandhu (38 not out) in the runs. Imtiaz Mirzai took 4-39 for Afghan Atalan.

The key moments in the Afghani reply were two excellent catches – by Bhupinder Singh at gully to remove Ramin Zurmati, and by Gurpreet Singh Dhaliwal on the long-on boundary to dismiss top-scorer Zubir Sahil for 43. Atalan were all out for 146.

Sri Lanka Lions had six batsmen over 20 but none higher than 36 as they posted 246-8 against Punjabi Kings, for whom Baljeet Singh took 3-44. Ravi Gill batted well for the Kings, making 55 before being dismissed by Roshan Siriwardana, who then mopped up the tail again to record figures of 3-8. The Kings’ 131 left the Lions winners by 115 runs.

The match between Sri Lankan CC (Nicosia) and Royal was another to feature an outstanding catch, a lightning reaction grab at slip by Randunu Ranathunga to dismiss Royal’s Karan Singh for 28. Sehran Ahmed made top score of 30 as Royal were all out for 144. Buddika Ranasinghe took 4-31 and Chandana Prartana 3-20.

Hiran Shanaka led the way with 40 as the Sri Lankans reached their victory target with 6 wickets and 6 overs to spare. This was their first match in the competition and they will now look forward to their crucial meeting with the unbeaten Black Caps later in the month.

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