Kerala’s Mohammed Azharuddeen lights up Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with 37-ball ton
- Mohammed Azharuddeen, 26, slammed a 37-ball century, the joint-fastest by an Indian player in the format as Kerala gunned down Mumbai’s 197-run target.
The name might ring a bell. Mohammed Azharuddeen of Kerala played one of the finest knocks in the history of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy to guide his team to a dominant eight-wicket win against Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday. Azharuddeen, 26, slammed a 37-ball century, the joint-fastest by an Indian player in the format as Kerala gunned down Mumbai’s 197-run target in just 15.5 overs.
In the process, Azharuddeen, named after former India captain and stylist batsman Mohammad Azharuddin, became the first centurion from Kerala, his unbeaten 137 off 54 balls, allowing Kerala to register a handsome eight-wicket win.
The story behind his name is rather fascinating. The current head coach of Kerala, Tinu Yohannan, in an interview to Sportstar, had narrated how the player's name came about. Born in 1994, the name was thought by Azharuddeen's brother Kamaruddeen, who insisted that his younger brother be named Azharuddeen after his idol Azharuddin, who played 99 Tests for India and was one of India's most successful captains.
Batting first, Mumbai posted a challenging 196/7. Openers Yashasvi Jaiswal and Aditya Tare provided the team a fine start putting on 88 runs for the first wicket before falling in quick succession. However, there was no shortage of contributions from the other batsmen with the Suryakumar Yadav and Shivam Dube chipping in with 38 and 26 respectively. Jalaj Saxena and K Asif picked up three wickets each for Kerala.
However, there was no massive individual score from the Mumbai batsmen and that is where Kerala were different. In chase of 197, Uthappa and Azharuddeen opened the innings, but the veteran batsman was reduced to being merely a spectator as Azharuddeen took charge. The opening wicket added 129 runs with Uthappa scoring only 33 of those.