Pakistan News & Features Services
Omar Associates and Moin Khan Academy opened their campaign on a winning note as they prevailed over their respective rivals in the latest southern region matches of the 16th National Seniors Cup Cricket Tournament 2014 played at the TMC Ground, Karachi, over the weekend.
Omar Associates whipped Gold Bridge Media by 106 runs while Moin Khan Academy blasted Karachi Friends by eight wickets to consolidate their position in the annual event being organized by the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA) and sponsored by Arif Habib Corporation Limited and Omar Associates (Pvt) Ltd. The event offers Rs 805,000 in prize money.
Left-arm spinner Nadeem Musa, adjudged Man of the Match, played the pivotal role in guiding Omar Associates to an emphatic win in their first outing in the tournament. He returned the exceptional figures of 6 for 30 off 4.3 overs to send Gold Bridge Media, set a daunting target of 273 in 25 overs, crashing to 166 all out in 18 overs.
Gold Bridge Media started their reply in a spectacular style as the enterprising knocks from opener Mukhtar Ali (41 off 20 balls) and Kashif Hanif (41 off 26 balls) kept them ahead of the clock but their dismissal in rapid succession followed by the terrific spell from Nadeem Musa changed the complexion of the game. Jaffer Qureshi, also a left-arm spinner, and leg-spinner K K Mahmood claimed a couple of wickets each.
Earlier left-handed Jaffer Qureshi had also struck 61 off 37 balls while opening the Omar Associates innings. The momentum was sustained by Azhar Khan who stroked a whirlwind 70 off 31 with the help of three sixes and eight fours to take the total to a mammoth 272 for eight in 25 overs despite fine bowling from left-arm spinner Salahuddin (3-37) and off-spinner Ahsan Shakoor (2-37).
In the other game, Moin Khan Academy faced no problems in chasing down the modest target of 168 with opener Asif Siddiqui (57 off 38 balls) setting the platform and number three Omar Masood, declared Man of the Match, finishing it off with unbeaten 73 from only 49 balls, striking five sixes and four fours as the winning runs came with 5.2 overs to spare.
The spin duo of Habib-ur-Rahman (3-20) and Mahmood Hamid (2-21) restricted Karachi Friends to 167 for eight in 25 overs despite opener Irfan Ali Khan, who followed up his century in the opening game, with another superb knock of 72 off 45 balls, hitting one six and a dozen boundaries. He dominated the 98-run opening partnership with Azeem Ahmed (31 off 35 balls) but the middle-order succumbed to the accurate spin bowling in the later part of the innings.
A record number of 108 teams from 58 cities have entered the tournament. They have been divided in 24 Groups and they incl;ude 35 city teams from Punjab, 13 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eight from Sindh, three from Islamabad and one from FATA. The national final will be played between the winning teams of North and South zones at Lahore on May 4.