Rohan Mustafa stars as Future Mattress beat MGM in Sharjah Ramadan Cup final

UAE national team allrounder hit 96 not out from a total of 170-5, then took 3-20 with the ball

Given the amount of time they spend on the field and the odd hours they keep, the country’s leading cricketers must frequently feel in need of a lie down during Ramadan.

No wonder, then, the pre-eminent team in the country during the Holy Month have been a team sponsored by a company whose raison d’etre is to improve sleep.

Future Mattress won the 32nd Sharjah Ramadan Cup final when they beat MGM Cricket Club by 12 runs late on Friday night.

After a - presumably long and restful - sleep, they will bid to do the same again on Saturday night. The two sides meet again in the final of another Ramadan tournament in neighbouring Dubai.

Although the name might be a new one, the team itself have a long history of success in UAE cricket. Future Mattress is so named to promote the latest enterprise of Adil Mirza, who is one of the great benefactors of domestic cricket in the UAE.

Their playing personnel are some of the most recognisable in the game in the country. Not least Rohan Mustafa, who stole the show in the final.

Rohan Mustafa of Future Mattress playing a shot in the Sharjah Ramadan Cup final between Future Mattress vs MCM Cricket Club held at Sharjah International Cricket Stadium in Sharjah on May 7,2021. Pawan Singh / The National. Story by Paul
Rohan Mustafa. Pawan Singh / The National

The UAE national team allrounder had already played a starring role in his side’s semi-final win.

In the final, he hit 96 not out from a total of 170-5, then took 3-20 with the ball.

“It was a great day,” Mustafa said. “After the innings in the semi-final, when I got to the ground I felt like I was starting the same innings again.

“The pitch was not that easy to score on, it was difficult to hit sixes, but Aryan [Lakra, who scored 25] stayed with me.

“We’re national team players, so we should be fit. We were taking singles and doubles, and by the end I was seeing the ball like a football and was able to score.”

With four balls left in the innings, Mustafa required 18 to reach a century. He hit the next three balls for four, but was left just short of the milestone when he clubbed the last ball for two rather than six.

“The ball I got on the last ball was a good ball to hit for six, but by that point I was very tired,” Mustafa said.

“I wasn’t looking for the hundred, I was just looking for the maximum runs we could get on the board.”

Players breaking their fast before the start of Sharjah Ramadan Cup final at Sharjah International Cricket Stadium in Sharjah on April 7,2021. Pawan Singh / The National. Story by Paul
Players breaking their fast before the start of Sharjah Ramadan Cup final. Pawan Singh / The National

Although the limited travel caused by the pandemic meant fewer stars have been imported from abroad for Ramadan cricket this year, Mustafa insists the competition has still been strong.

“Ramadan is the best time to have lots of tournaments,” he said.

“After fasting, the players really enjoy getting together to play cricket. We have a very good unity and that helps us.

“All the teams get good players out to play during Ramadan. The teams are all very strong, and that helps us a lot.”

Published: May 8, 2021 12:11 PM

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