Wednesday , December 6 2023

Who is Mohammad Azharuddeen, the Kerala opener who hit a 37-ball century?

Kerala opening batsman, Mohammad Azharuddeen played an incredible knock, scoring 137 runs in just 54 balls to help his side defeat Mumbai in the Syed Mustaq Ali encounter. Azharuddeen brought up his century in just 37 balls at the Wankhede stadium. Chasing a steep target of 197 runs, it was the 26-year old’s innings that helped Kerala register their second successive victory in the tournament. The youngster smashed 11 sixes in his innings and registered the joint third-fastest 100 in T20 cricket by an Indian batsman.

Mohammad Azharuddeen made his first class debut for Kerala in 2015, and has become a seasoned campaigner on the domestic circuit.

Azharuddeen was named after his brother’s idol

Mohammad Azharuddeen was born in 1994 when his parents had thought of a different name but his elder brother, Kamarudden named him Azharuddeen- after the then Indian captain, Mohammad Azharuddin who was also his idol. Ever since his younger days, he was referred to as ‘Azhar in the making.’

The right hand batsman has played 22 first class matches, scoring 959 runs at an average of just about 25 runs. He made his first class debut in November 2015 against Goa. In the 21 T20s he has played so far, the youngster has scored 404 runs, which includes his astonishing knock of 137 runs at the Wankhede.

After performing well on the U-19 and U-23 circuits, Mohammad Azharuddeen was drafted into the Kerala team. However, he has had minor hiccups in between as he continues to live up to expectations. Interestingly, his namesake, Azharuddin had an amazing record at the Wankhede stadium. The former Indian captain is the second highest ODI scorer at the iconic Wankhede stadium, at 302 runs just behind Sachin Tendulkar. In the six Tests, he played at the venue, Azharuddin scored 126 runs.

Several former players, fans and the media have highlighted Mohammed Azharuddeen’s terrific knock on Wednesday.

“Wah Azharudeen , behtareen ! To score like that against Mumbai was some effort. 137* of 54 and finishing the job on hand. Enjoyed this innings,” tweeted Virender Sehwag, shortly after the match concluded.

“I had seen an extraordinary player called Mohd Azharuddin many years ago. Now I am seeing another by the same name. Wow, he can play some shots!,” said Harsha Bhogle.

“What a story. A player named after one Indian cricketer, Azhar, is joined by a player named after another Indian legend, Sachin, to deliver an 8 wicket win for Kerala against the most successful domestic side ever, Mumbai, in the Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament!,” tweeted Joy Bhattacharjya.

“HISTORY MAKER! Mohammed Azharuddeen after his whirlwind knock against Mumbai. He is the 1st cricketer to score a 100 for Kerala in T20s. Previous best was Rohan Prem’s 92* against Delhi in 2013. It’s also the 2nd fastest 100 in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy,” Martin Joseph tweeted, highlighting the milestones achieved by the Kerala batsman.

“IPL 2010 – Yusuf Pathan scores 100 off 37 balls against Mumbai Indians at Mumbai SMAT 2021 – Mohammed Azharuddeen scores 100 off 37 balls against Mumbai in Mumbai On both the occasions, Aditya Tare was the WK,” one of the fans brought out an interesting co-incidence.

With this victory, Kerala move to the top of the Elite Group E points table, after winning both their opening matches. Meanwhile, Mumbai were thrashed by Delhi by 76 runs in their first round, and lost to Kerala today which puts them on bottom of Group E. Delhi have also registered two wins in as many games along with Haryana. This leaves Group E with three teams on 8 points, whereas the other three teams are yet to open their account in the Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy 2021. Mumbai will aim to get back on track as they face Haryana on January 15 at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai.

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