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Kenya cricket legend Karim elated by Masters World Cup exploits

Kenyan cricket legend Aasif Karim is happy with his performance in the ongoing 2024 International Masters Cricket (IMC) Over 60s World Cup in Chennai City, India.

The 60-year-old, former Kenyan captain, has been impressive for the Rest of the World Team in all four matches that they have played in the 12-team tournament that bowled-off last Sunday.

He is the only Kenyan invited to the tournament organised by the Veterans India Foundation.

The Rest of the World Team comprises former top cricket players from around the globe who could not form a full squad with their country men for the tournament.

The other teams featured in the contest are India, Canada, England, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States of America, Zimbabwe, Australia, Sri Lanka, Wales and the West Indies.

“I am enjoying myself, playing cricket at the over 60 World Cup for the Rest of the World Team,” said Karim, who represented Kenya in three International Cricket Council World Cups in 1996 (vice-captain), 1999 (captain) and 2003.

“There is great comradeship in the team, making new friends and meeting various players I played with over the years from different countries especially when we played at the Associate Trophy tournament. I am extremely pleased and satisfied with the performance so far, especially playing in a competitive tournament after 20 years and playing against different countries.”

Friday was Karim’s big day, as he was named the man-of-the-match in their seven-wicket win over India in Group “B”.

It was the first victory the Rest of the World Team registered in the tournament, with Karim impressing with 82 runs off 74 balls, including 15 fours.

Batting first after winning the toss, India set a target of 300 runs for the loss of four wickets in 45.0 overs of their innings.

In reply, the Rest of the World Team carried the day with 301 runs for the loss of three wickets in 41.3 overs of their innings.

While opening batsman Tbennett of the Rest of World was the match’s top scorer with 137 runs off 108 balls, including 24 fours, the man-of-the-match gong went to Karim since he also took three wickets in nine overs where he conceded 34 runs. 

On Thursday, Karim received two awards thanks to his impressive performance in their 32-run loss to Wales.

With 50 runs off 57 balls, six fours and one wicket to his name, the former Kenyan captain got a fighter-of-the-match award and a special award from the Wales team. With 205 runs to his name, Karim is the fifth-ranked batsman in the tournament. 

Deonarine Dayal of West Indies tops the charts with 262 runs. 

In their opening Group “B” match against West Indies last Sunday, Karim posted 50 runs off 71 balls, including five fours. He also took one wicket in nine overs, where he earned a maiden, but conceded 34 runs.

That performance, however, was not enough to guide them to victory, as they lost by three wickets to West Indies.

Batting after losing the toss, the Rest of the World Team posted 192 runs for the loss of nine wickets in 45 overs of their innings.

West Indies successfully chased the target, hitting 15 runs for the loss of seven wickets in 37.3 overs of their innings. Tbennett top-scored with 53 runs from 59 balls, including eight fours.

On Tuesday against Australia, Karim delivered 21 runs from 25 balls, including four fours. But again, it was not enough to guide his side to victory, as they lost by four wickets.

Batting after winning the toss, the Rest of the World Team set a target of 161 runs for the loss of nine wickets in 45 overs of their innings.

Australia hit 162 runs for the loss of six wickets in 35 overs of their innings.

Karim admitted that since he is not used to playing for a long time, his body “needs to be well stretched and hydrated.”

As part of his preparation for the tournament, Karim hired a fitness trainer to help him achieve maximum fitness level.

Karim is remembered for his heroics for Kenya against Australia in the 2003 World Cup, co-hosted by Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. While Kenya lost to Australia by five wickets, Karim earned the man-of-the-match award after he shone with three wickets in 8.2 overs, where he earned six maidens, and conceded seven runs only.

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