August 30, 2011

Omar Cricket Club lift Bahria Town Trophy


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Omar Cricket Club, hurt badly by a couple of harsh umpiring decisions in the final last year, displayed even greater mental toughness besides loads of skills by emerging triumphant in the 26th Karachi Gymkhana Ramazan Festival Twenty20 Cricket Tournament 2011 for the Bahria Town Trophy which concluded at the Karachi Gymkhana Cricket Ground on August 29.

Leg-spinner Hafiz Saad Nasim claimed five wickets to bowl Omar CC to 22-run victory over Ali Sports in the final which was completed under dark clouds. Heavy downpour that followed ruined the presentation ceremony and the iftar-dinner reception which had to be moved to the heavily crowded banquet hall from the serene atmosphere of swimming pool.

Hamid Ilyas, Project Director, Bahria Town (Pvt) Ltd, was be the chief guest in the ceremony in which cash prizes of Rs eight lacs were disbursed. The President of the Karachi Gymkhana, Ali Rahim, was present on the occasion alongwith the Convenor Sports, Saleem Yousuf, and other top officials of the club.

Ramiz Aziz of Vital Five Academy was declared Man of the Tournament while Nasir Jamshed (Karachi Gymkhana Whites), Shahzeb Khan (KESC), Khurram Manzoor (Medicam) and Azhar Khan (Karachi Gymkhana Blues) were adjudged best barsman, bowler, fielder and wicketkeeper respectively.

Nadeem Omar, the founder and the owner of Omar CC, couldn’t hide his delight when laying hands at the trophy which could have easily come into his lap a year earlier as well.

In the final, enterprising knocks from opener Asif Raza (35 off 24 balls), Ali Khan (51 off 39 balls) and Ali Asad (32 off 26 balls) allowed Omar CC to post a competitive total of 146 for six against a spirited bowling attack. Left-arm spinner Imran Ali (3-21) was the pick of the Ali Sports bowlers.

Having registered a comeback victory in the semifinals only the other day, Ali Sports remained in the hunt while chasing the target of 147 despite losing wickets at regular intervals.
The match was wide open at the halfway stage of their innings with 90 needed from last 10 overs. By taking 22 overs in the next two overs Ali Sports inched closer to the target but their dreams were shattered by Hafiz Saad Nasim, who turned the match decisively in Omar CC’s favour by picking up five wickets for 22 runs. Ali Sports was bowled out for 124 in 19.1 overs.

In the semifinals Omar CC knocked out defending champions Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC), beating them by a margin of seven wickets while Ali Sports forced their way final by overpowering the formidable Vital Five Academy by five wickets.

KESC was spun out for 134 in 19.4 overs despite useful knocks from Sarfraz Ahmed (54 off 34 balls) and Shaheryar Ghani (30 off 30 balls) with left-arm spinners Raza Hasan (4-28), Faraz Ahmed Khan (2-16) and Sultan Ahmed (2-19) doing the damage. The 90-run third wicket stand between Ali Khan (56 not out off 40 balls) and Ali Asad (36 off 32 balls) allowed Omar CC to reach the target comfortably with 2.4 overs remaining.

Vital Five Academy was restricted to 125 for nine with only Hanif Malik (26), Ali Waqas (20) and Mohammad Waqas (20) contributing something of note. The match came to life when they reduced Ali Sports to 31 for five but the unbroken 96-run sixth wicket partnership between Noman Ali (54 not out off 39 balls) and Zakir Malik (45 not out off 34 balls) settled the issue with 10 balls in hand.

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