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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