Maharoof blitz powers Southern Express to 161/6

Maharoof blitz powers Southern Express to 161/6

All-rounder Farveez Maharoof's 41-run blitz helped Sri Lankan outfit Southern Express post 161 for six in 20 overs against Mumbai Indians in the Oppo Champions League Twenty20 qualifier, here today.

Put into bat, Southern Express were hurt by early strikes from Mumbai bowlers only to counter attack with 59 runs in the final five overs.

Mumbai new-ball bowlers, Harbhajan Singh (0-18) and Jasprit Bumrah (1-23) bowled a tight line to restrict the batsmen to just 27 runs in the powerplay overs. Bumrah drew first blood in the fourth over of the innings after scalping opener Kusal Perera, who got a top edge as Shreyas Gopal caught a skier, for 8.

Left-handed opener Danushka Gunathilaka then tried to do the grinding with new-man Yashodha Lanka. The duo stitched a 27-run second-wicket partnership before skipper Kieron Pollard (1-18) took matters in his own hands.

Medium-pacer Pollard's slower delivery sent Lanka back in the pavilion after being caught by Ambati Rayudu for 9 in the eight over.

Off-spinner Jalaj Saxena (1-3) soon got Gunathilaka (30) caught by Harbhajan in the very next over to put the Lankan side in trouble at 50 for three.

Express captain Jehan Mubarak then tried to quicken things up with a six and a four but soon left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha (1-35) cleaned up the left-hander for 14.
Leg-spinner Gopal (0-29) was taken for 17 runs in the 12th over with Express batsmen getting a couple sixes and a four to regain some momentum.

But a horrendous mix up in the 14th over made Express lose half their side as Seekkuge Prasanna (15) was run out at the non-strikers end after being stranded with striker Angelo Perera (28) in trying to sneak in a single.

A sloppy effort in the field gave Farveez Maharoof a life against Ojha on the first ball of the 17th over and a missed stumping on the third ball gave Perera a lifeline.

Gopal, after dropping Maharoof at long-off, made a mess of a fielding chance at deep point to concede a boundary and a frustrated Ojha saw 13 runs come off his third over.

Maharoof soon made Mumbai pay after smacking Ojha for a six and couple of fours to fetch 18 runs from the penultimate over.

Maharoof and Perera stitched a 58-run sixth-wicket partnership before Lasith Malinga (1-28) cleaned up Angelo on the first ball of the final over.

But Maharoof finished off with a six and four to give Mumbai a challenging 162-run target.

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