Mohammad Azharuddin

Kerala seems to be one of the toughest contenders for the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy this season owing to the depth in their squad. On Wednesday another warrior from Sanju Samson’s brigade raised his hand to slaughter the opposition. It was opened by Mohammed Azharuddin, who scored a 37 ball century, making a 197 run chase look like a cheesecake.

The 26-year-old slammed the Mumbai bowling attack lead by the likes of Dhawal Kulkarni all over Wankhede handing the hosts an eight-wicket defeat. In doing so Mohammed Azharuddin’s show on Wednesday goes into the books of history as the second-fastest century in the history of Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy and the joint-third fastest by an Indian batsman in the shortest format.

He finished with a 54-ball 137, in a knock that was studded with nine fours and 11 sixes. He had brought up his fifty in mere 20 balls and sped up even faster to score the next fifty in 17 deliveries. It was the Kerela batsman who soared through the 197 run mark in 15.5 overs.

BCCI took on its Twitter to congratulate Mohammad Azharuddin-

His century planted as the third-fastest makes him a part of a list with some big names. The fastest T20 centuries by India players (balls) includes Rishabh Pant (32 balls Delhi v HP 2018), Rohit Sharma (35 balls, Ind v SL 2017), Yusuf Pathan (37 balls, RR v MI 2010), and now Mohd Azharuddin ( 37 balls Ker v Mum 2021).

Summary of the match and what next for the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy?

Earlier Mumbai started pleasantly at home, openers Yashaswi Jaiswal and Aditya Tare laying down 88 run-stand under ten overs. However, Tare (42 off 31 balls) and Jaiswal (40 off 32 balls) fell in quick succession. It was skipper Suryakumar Yadav (38 off 19 balls) who put his feet on the gas and made some quick runs. Siddhesh Lad (21 off 12 balls), Sarfaraz Khan (17 off 9 balls) and Shivam Dube (26 off 13 balls) got off to explosive starts but couldn’t keep firing to see the innings through. However, this collective effort got Mumbai to a respectable 197 run total.

Kerala vs Mumbai Mohammad Azharuddin 157* batting Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy - YouTube

S Sreesanth who had done well in the first game was hit all around Wankhede in the second. He ended with lousy figures giving away 47 runs in his quota of four overs. Jalaj Saxena again performed well picking three important wickets. However, the best figures for Kerala came against KM Asif’s name (25/3).

Coming out to bat, Robin Uthappa and Mohammed Azharuddin put up a 129 opening stand in 9.3 overs. The Mumbai bowlers looked clueless as Azharuddin kept picking each one of them. Although Uthappa (33) and Samson (22) couldn’t contribute much, Azharuddin took the entire game in his hands. All seven bowlers used by Suryakumar Yadav went for runs.

Mohammed Azharuddin is a gem and let us see if this performance makes him a reputed name. Only time will tell!!