July 31, 2014

Tapal Cricket Club retain Aga Khan Gymkhana Ramazan Trophy


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Tapal Cricket Club overcame the rampaging Omar Cricket Club in the high-scoring final to win the 27th Aga Khan Gymkhana Ramazan Trophy Twenty20 Cricket Tournament 2014 and retain the title in the picturesque surroundings of the Aga Khan Gymkhana on July 28. 

Arif Habib, Chairman, Arif Habib Group, was the chief guest in the presentation ceremony held at the ground immediately after the conclusion of the final. 

Prominent among those present on the occasion were Hakim Ali Khan, Chairman, Aga Khan Gymkhana, Shameez Mukhi, Chairman, Aga Khan Youth & Sports Board for Pakistan, Mohammad Iqbal, Director Sports, Naya Nazimabad, Riaz Contractor, Manager, Aga Khan Sports Centre and Amin Merchnat, ex-General Manager, Tapal Tea (Pvt) Ltd. 

Arif Habib presented the winner trophy with a cash award Rs three lacs to Daniyal Ahsan, captain, Tapal Cricket Club, while Adnan Kalim, skipper, Omar Cricket Club, collected the runners-up trophy with a purse of Rs two lacs. 

Ahmed Hussain of Soni Associates was adjudged Best Batman of the Tournament for scoring 201 runs while Tapal Cricket Club’s off-spinner Atif Maqbool clinched the Best Bowler award for his aggregate of 10 wickets at 16.20 apiece. Khalid Latif of Touchme XI, who aggregated 229 runs, was declared the Best Player of the Tournament. All the individual awards earned the winners Rs 10,000 each. 

The final of the tournament produced exhilarating stuff with as many as 370 runs scored of 39.3 overs. Omar CC, having remained undefeated in all the five major tournaments being held in the city during the holy month of Ramazan, seemed to have done well to post a total of 184 for four in the allotted 20 overs. 

It was being generally anticipated that Omar CC will win yet another tournament as their bowlers did have the capacity to defend the big total in a high-profile game. Tapal CC, however, had other ideas and they didn’t succumb to the scoreboard pressure to overhaul the target with three balls to spare. 

The 120-run opening stand between Usman Javed (72 off 42 balls) and Adnan Baig (52 off 33 balls) got the defending champions off to a flyer. Both the openers smashed 10 boundaries each to set a solid platform for the big chase. 

The momentum was sustained by the middle-order batsmen, who kept their cool and were not overawed by the occasion or by the reputation of their opponents. Fawad Alam grabbed a couple of quick wickets with his left-arm spin which only delayed the inevitable. Skipper Daniyal Ahsan remained undefeated on 22 to ensure that the good work of the openers was not undone. 

Earlier Omar CC made the most of their batting depth by scoring swiftly in the slog overs to lift the total to 184. The 72-run unbroken fifth wicket stand between Sarfaraz Ahmed (49 off 33 balls) and Fawad Alam (39 off 21 balls) seemed to have given them an iron-grip on the match but the eventual score didn’t prove adequate enough on a day which belonged to Tapal CC.

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Naya Nazimabad Peace Cup scales greater heights in its second edition


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The dream of Arif Habib, Chairman, Arif Habib Group, of establishing the Lawai Stadium in Naya Nazimabad as a model cricket ground is on way to fulfillment. It has already created waves in a short span of time and it seems a matter of time when high-profile matches will be taking place at this marvellous venue. 

The recently concluded second edition of the Naya Nazimabad Peace Cup, held under fllodlights, was another feather in the cap of the Javedan Corporation Limited, the promoters of the massive housing scheme, who consider cricket as the paramount source of binding the various sections of the society. 

It went to the credit of the management of the corporation to have arranged for the live telecast of the knockout matches of the 2nd Peace Cup which was a great value addition for the tournament itself. It was quite a remarkable achievement to have done it so quickly. 

Other local tournaments have also been televised in the recent past but it had taken ages for them to do so. The Naya Nazimabad Peace Cup, launched only last year, was on air in only its second edition. 

There were apprehensions in some minds about the location of the ground but, as Arif Habib had so emphatically stated during the media launch of the event at the Karachi Gymkhana a couple of days before the start of the tournament, there was nothing to worry about when approaching the ground or leaving it. 

The event progressed very smoothly indeed and not a single untoward incident was reported during 31 nights of cricket action. There was no issue of law and order situation in the area during the entire length of the tournament. 

All the matches were played under floodlights and there was tremendous excitement at the ground which built an atmosphere that’s rarely found at other venues of Karachi these days. 

The presence of the high-ranking government officials, including Commissioner Karachi, Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, and Advisor on Sports to Sindh Chief Minister, Adil Siddiqui, besides some top businessmen of the country was a testimonial to the success of the tournament. 

While the support of the Arif Habib Group and the proactive involvement of the top management of the Javedan Corporation played its role in the smashing success of the tournament, one person who played the pivotal role in making it possible was none other than Mohammad Iqbal, a former cricketer, whose vast experience of cricket administration allowed him to do it in an organized manner. 

The resounding success of the 2nd Peace Cup should pave the way for further glories for the Lawai Stadium which is expected to host matches of the national cricket tournaments, organized by the Pakistan Cricket Boarb (PCB), as early as the upcoming season. 

The Lawai Stadium, named after Hussain Lawai, a famous banker, seems set to become one of the most sought-after cricket grounds of the country.

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July 28, 2014

Omar Cricket Club clinch Naya Nazimabad Peace Cup for second year running


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Omar Cricket Club extended its sensational form to retain the title by edging out Advance Telecom by two runs in thrilling final of the 2nd Peace Cup T-20 Night Cricket Tournament 2014 at the picturesque Naya Nazimabad Lawai Stadium on July 27.

So it has become two in two for the rampaging Omar CC side as they had also emerged triumphant in the inaugural edition of the tournament held at the same venue last year.

Set a daunting target of 172 in 20 overs, Advance Telecom needed eight off the last six deliveries. Off-spinner Misbah Khan kept his cool and delivered a fantastic final over which yielded only five runs. He finished with the excellent figures of two for 28 in the high-scoring game. 

Advance Telecom was restricted to 171 for eight despite Babar Agha, who hammered two sixes and half a dozen fours in brilliant knock of 59 off 47 balls and Asif Ali, who made 55 off 26 balls with the help of six sixes and four fours. 

Omar CC was indebted to former Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Sami who first boosted the total by blasting an unbeaten 59 off 34 balls with three sixes and two fours and later chipped in with two wickets for 17 runs to clinch the Man of the Match award. 

Omar CC installed a big total of 173 for seven in the allotted 20 overs. Prolific opener Rameez Raja gave the innings head start by striking seven sixes and eight boundaries in his splendid innings of 80 off just 44 balls. Fast bowler Sohail Khan (2-38) and leg-spinner Faizan Riaz (2-28) pulled it pack for Advance Telecom before the final onslaught from Mohammad Sami. 

The prize distribution ceremony was held soon after the conclusion of the final in which trophies and cash awards were given away by Adil Siddiqui, Advisor to Sindh Chief Minster, Arif Habib, Chairman Arif Habib Group, Nadeem Omar, Managing Director, Omar Associates, and Mohammad Iqbal, Director Sports, Naya Nazimabad. 

The Omar CC skipper, Javed Mansoor, collected the winners trophy with a purse of Rs four lacs while the Advance Telecom captain, Rehan Sheikh, received the runners-up trophy with a cash award of Rs two lacs. 

Among the individual prizes, Saud Shakil of Alamgir Gymkhana was declared Man of the Tournament while Rameez Raja, Fawad Khan and Javed Mansoor, all of them from Omar CC, were adjudged the best batsman, the best bowler and the best wicketkeeper of the tournament respectively.

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Omar Cricket Club to take on Y J XI in Vital Five title clash after Eid


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The all-conquering Omar Cricket Club have created an unusual and unexpected situation. By qualifying for the finals of all the major cricket tournaments being held in Karachi during the month of Ramazan they have put the organizers in a spot of bother. 

Since all the finals of the month-long events were scheduled to be held around same dates, it became practically impossible for them to make an appearance in all of them simultaneously. It has led to the postponement of the final of the 3rd Vital Five T-20 Ramazan Festival Tournament 2014 which will now be staged at the DHA Vital Five Cricket Academy Ground soon after Eid holidays. Omar CC’s opponents in the final will be Y J XI. 

“We have been prompted to reschedule the final, originally planned to be held on July 27, due to the engagement of one of our finalists as well as the defending champions, Omar CC, in other tournament finals. They won’t be available even on July 28, apparently the last available day of Ramazan, which has prompted us to postpone our final for a few days. New date will be announced with mutual consent of both of the finalists,” Tournament Director, Jalaluddin, a former Test fast bowler, announced. 

Meanwhile Rameez Raja’s scintillating knock powered defending champions Omar CC into the final as they overwhelmed Tapal Cricket Club by six wickets in the semifinal. 

Rameez, who picked up Advance Telecom Man of the Match award, blasted three sixes and seven fours in his stroke-filled 53 off 24 balls while Mohammad Sami (34 off 29 balls) and Saad Nasim (32 off 20 balls) also batted freely to enable Omar CC to reach the target in 18.1 overs despite fine spell from left-arm spinner Rashid Hanif (2-29). 

Tapal CC was restricted to 157 for six in 20 overs. Left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar (3-26) and leg-spinner Nadeem Javed (2-27) pulled it back after fighting knocks from Mubashir Ahmed (55 off 49 balls), Daniyal Ahsan (32off 21 balls) and Ali Sarfaraz (24 off 22 balls). 

Y J XI had sneaked into the final by taming Vital Five Academy by 18 runs in a low-scoring semifinal. Useful contributions from Ashraf Ali (38 off 32 balls), Wajid Ali (32 off 24 balls), Gohar Ali (25 off 18 balls) and Mohammad Irfan (20 off 15 balls) plus a breezy 15 off seven balls from Fahim Ahmed, declared Man of the Match, enabled Y J XI to reach a competitive total of 155 for seven in 20 overs despite fine bowling by left-arm spinner Mustafa Iqbal (2-33) and medium-pacer Waqar Anwar (2-37). 

Vital Five Academy lost wickets at regular intervals against the quintet of left-arm spinners, led by Yaqzan Rajput (3-36) and Osama Basharat (2-19). Even a defiant knock from Faisal Mubashir (48 off 41 balls) could not revive them and they were restricted to 137 for nine in 20 overs to get eliminated from the competition.

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Omar Cricket Club retain KG Festival tourney


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Omar Cricket Club retained the title by edging out K-Electric by nine runs in the low-scoring final of the 29th edition of the Karachi Gymkhana Omar Associates Ramazan Festival Twenty20 Cricket Tournament 2014 at the KG Cricket Ground on July 27. 

Batting first, Omar CC recovered to post a total of 145 for six in the allotted 20 overs with Sarfaraz Ahmed’s unbeaten 33 off 22 balls being the highest contribution. Anwar Ali played a little cameo of 25 off 15 balls while Hafiz Saad Nasim remaining undefeated on 23 off 10 balls and Khurram Manzoor making 21 off 20 balls. 

K-Electric was restricted to 136 for nine after an absorbing contest between bat and ball. Shahid Khan (31 off 24 balls), Faraz Ali (25 off 26 balls) and Tariq Haroon (20 off 20 balls) got a start but neither of them could finish the game as Omar CC fought back through medium-pacer Asif Raza (3-22) and the spin duo of Zulfiqar Babar (2-25) and Adnan Kalim (2-31). 

Nadeem Omar, Managing Director, Omar Associates (Pvt) Ltd, who was the chief guest in the prize distribution ceremony held immediately after the conclusion of the final, presented a cheque of Rs five lacs to the winning captain, Adnan Kalim, while total cash awards of Rupees one million were disbursed on the occasion. 

Asif Raza’s fine all-round performance had enabled the defending champions to storm into the final when outwitted Eaton Cricket Club by 32 runs in the rain-curtailed semifinal on July 25. 

Batting first, Omar CC managed 125 for nine in the allotted 17 overs with Hafiz Saad Nasim (26 off 23 balls), Anwar Ali (21 off 15 balls), Asif Raza (21 off 8 balls), presented Man of the Match award by chief guest Jahangir Moghul, and Omar Siddiq (21 off 27 balls) chipped in with crucial knocks as the batsmen were tested by the spin duo of Saadat Munir (4-33) and Fahad Anjum (2-29). 

Eaton CC could not get on top of the penetrative bowling to be skittled for 93 in 16.3 overs with only Ali Jawwad (27 off 30 balls), Nadeem Javed (17 off 15 balls) and Fahad Anjum (14 off 10 balls) offering some resistance as the innings was wrecked by the quartet of Zulfiqar Babar (3-29), Anwar Ali (2-8), Faraz Ahmed (2-9) and Asif Raza (2-22). 

K-Electric had cruised into the final by having overwhelmed Advance Telecom by seven wickets in the other semifinal on July 26. 

Put into bat, Advance Telecom struggled against the slow bowlers to reach a total of 133 for nine in 20 overs in which Sohail Khan (22 off 14 balls), Mohammad Yasin (21 off 20 balls) and Asif Ali (18 off 19 balls) contributed anything of note. 

Off-spinners Shahid Khan (2-11) and Misbah Khan (2-30) were well supported by the quartet of Fawad Khan, Osama Basharat, Rizwan Khan and Saud Shakil, all of whom got a wicket each. 

Opener Faraz Ali, adjudged Man of the Match, smashed a couple of sixes and seven boundaries in his 70 off 51 balls which allowed K-Electric to reach the target comfortably with 2.1 overs to spare. Off-spinner Nasir Owais (2-14) was the pick of the Advance Telecom bowlers.

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