August 29, 2015

Bridge Nationals 2015 in November


Pakistan News & Features Services

The Silver Jubilee edition of the National Bridge Championship is scheduled to be held in November at Karachi with Islamabad being the alternate venue.

Gulzar Bilal, Secretary, Pakistan Bridge Federation (PBF), has announced that the Bridge Nationals 2015, offering prize money to the tune of Rupees half a million, will be staged from November 6 to 9. 

He added that the trials to select the national team to represent the country in the next year’s World Mind Sports Games will be conducted on IMP pairs basis during the month of December. 

The PBF Secretary disclosed that efforts were being made to celebrate the silver jubilee of the National Championships in a befitting manner and bigger cash awards are being offered to the top performers. 

“Obviously the 25th edition of the National Bridge Championship is going to be a landmark event for us and we would like to make it a memorable experience. We expect around 20 to 25 outfits in the Team Championship whereas more the participation in the pairs event is anticipated to be over 100,” Gulzar Bilal, himself one of the best exponents of the game in the country, stated. 

“Besides the lion’s share in the prize money, the winning team will also receive a running trophy. Cash prizes have been disbursed to the top performers in the past as well but this time the amount will be higher,” he continued.

“As in the past, the National Championship will remain an open event for the bridge players from all over the country and the deadline for confirming entries will be November 5,” the PBF Secretary declared.

It may be recalled that both the finalists of the last edition of the National Bridge Championship hailed from Karachi. Puri Real Estate had emerged triumphant in the title clash, having outwitted Bilal Sindh in the final.

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Pakistan Veterans remain undefeated on England tour


Pakistan News & Features Services

Pakistan Panthers Veterans remained undefeated on the tour of England as they overpowered Middlesex County Cricket Club by 33 runs in their last game staged at the St Mary Cricket Club Harrow Ground on August 28.

Batting first, Pakistan Veterans posted a healthy total of 276 for nine in the stipulated 40 overs. Then they contained Middlesex CCC to 243 for seven in 40 overs to win the match handsomely. 

They had defeated Dorset Veterans by 34 runs in their opening match at the Dean Park in Bournemouth while their other two games, against Surrey CCC and Hampshire CCC, were abandoned without a ball being bowled due to heavy rains. 

Sajid Ali was the declared as the batsman for Pakistan on the tour while Fawad Ijaz Khan was adjudged as the best bowler. 

Rain stayed away from their fourth and final game which turned out to be a high-scoring fixture with as many as 519 runs being scored in 80 overs of play. 

The Pakistan Veterans skipper, Fawad Ijaz Khan, won the toss yet again and opted to bat first. Opener Sajid Ali picked up from where he had left in the last game in which he had scored 94 off 89 balls. His 108-run partnership with Rizwan Nisar laid the foundation for a mammoth score. 

Sajid Ali, having represented Pakistan in One-day Internationals, smashed four sixes and six fours in his 70 off 54 balls while Rizwan Nisar hammered half a dozen boundaries in his 50 off 41 balls. The loss of a few quick wickets slowed down the rate of scoring but the innings was revived by Moin Khan, a former Pakistan captain, who whacked two sixes and three fours in his 31 off 28 balls. 

The onslaught in the death overs by Raja Arshad, who blasted five sixes in his breezy 39 off 17 balls, lifted the total with Naeem Ashraf (36 off 25 balls) and Sajjad Ahmed (22 off 16) also making useful contributions down the order. Alexander Keith (3-79), K Desai (2-38) and Reingold Mark (2-48) shared the wickets for the home side. 

Chasing a formidable target of 277, Middlesex CCC lost early wickets and even the centurion Reingold Mark, who unleashed five sixes and 15 fours in his 116 off 74 balls, could not change the course of the match. 

The hosts were restricted to 243 for seven with medium-pacer Shahid Mahboob (2-21) and left-arm spinner Fawad Ijaz Khan (2-56) being the most successful bowlers from the visiting side. 

A sizeable crowd watched the match which was also attended by former Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal, West Indian fast bowling great, Michael Holding, former Pakistan fast bowler, Jalaluddin, and celebrated cricket writer, Qamar Ahmed. Later in the evening, a dinner reception was hosted in honour of the team by the local Pakistani Community which was largely attended and covered extensively by media.

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August 24, 2015

Sajid Ali, Fawad Ijaz Khan excel in Pakistan Veterans’ victory in England


Pakistan News & Features Services 

Opener Sajid Ali powered Pakistan Panthers Veterans to 34-run victory over Dorset Veterans in their first match of the tour of England held at the Dean Park in Bournemouth on August 23.

Batting first, Pakistan Veterans scored 174 for eight in the allotted 30 overs. Then they restricted Dorset Veterans to 140 for nine in 30 overs to win the match comfortably in the end. 

The start to the game was delayed due to rain and it became 30-overs-a-side encounter instead of being the originally planned 40-overs-a-side contest. 

The Pakistan Veterans skipper, Fawad Ijaz Khan, won the toss and elected to bat. Sajid Ali held the innings together with a gritty 94 off 89 balls, hitting 14 boundaries, after the loss of a couple of early wickets. 

He received invaluable support from Nadeem Omar (18 off 26 balls), Najeeb Sadiq (18 off 28 balls) and Fawad Ijaz Khan (14 off 14 balls) as the total reached respectable proportions despite fine bowling from Joe Wilson (3-33) and Jim Ryall (2-25). 

Chasing a target of 175 in 30 overs, Dorset Veterans got off to flying start through the opening pair of Jim Rayall (35 off 40 balls) and John Young (26 off 29 balls). It was Fawad Ijaz Khan’s left-arm spin which turned the tide in the visiting team’s favour. After breaking the 67-run opening partnership, he picked up a couple of more wickets to return the figures of three for 36 off six overs. 

Dorset Veterans lost the plot after the fall of wickets in rapid succession and the run outs of two too-order batsmen, Mike Harper and Dave Miller, didn’t help their cause either. They were contained to 140 for nine in the stipulated 30 overs. 

Sajid Ali was adjudged Man of the Match in the presentation ceremony in which souvenir and mementos were also exchanged between the officials of the two teams. Richard Turner and Ian Vaughan-Arbuckle were the two umpires during the match. 

Meanwhile Pakistan Panthers Veterans, besides undertaking a visit of the historic Lord’s Cricket Ground on August 25, will be playing matches against Surrey CCC, Hampshire CCC and Middlesex CCC, during their one-week tour.

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August 20, 2015

Pakistan Bridge Federation rewards victorious outfits


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Pakistan Bridge Federation (PBF) has rewarded the seniors and the women team of the country for having triumphed in their respective events of the 18th Asia and Middle East Bridge Championships 2015 held in Amman, Jordan, earlier this year.

In fact it turned out be quite a memorable reunion of Pakistan’s bridge stalwarts and the sumptuous dinner served in the lush green lawn on a most pleasant evening brought smiles on every face attending the event. 

Cheques of Rupees three lacs each were presented to the captains of both the winning teams during a dinner reception hosted in their honour by Mohammad Nawab Yousuf Talpur, President, PBF, at his DHA residence in Karachi on August 17. 

Pakistan’s seniors outfit comprised of Azhar Hamid, Iftikhar Baqai, Mirza Shauq Hussain, Zakir Mahmood, Masood Mazhar and Kamran Ibrahim, while the national women team featured Rubina Agha, Zeenat Azwer, Qudsia Dossa, Roshan Bokhari, Rubina Hai and Fatima Reza. 

By virtue of winning the zonal trophies, both the teams have also qualified for the World Bridge Championships, due to be staged in Chennai, India later this year. They will be taking part in the 8th d’Orsi Seniors Trophy and the 20th Venice Cup to be held alongwith the 42nd Bermuda Bowl and the 10th Transnational Teams Championships from September 26 to October 15.

The cheques were collected by Kamran Ibrahim and Roshan Bokhari, who captained the seniors and women outfits respectively. 

Speaking on the occasion, the PBF President hailed the performance of the seniors and women teams in the zonal event, expressing the hope that their feat will be helpful in boosting bridge in Pakistan. 

Nawab Yousuf Talpur talked about the federation’s plans to initiate a programme aimed at promoting the sport from the grassroots level in order to it to the masses. 

“Our current and former players have done an exceedingly good job over the years. But we need to look to the future and we have to expand the base. We need a broader pool of players in order to produce high quality players on a regular basis,” he remarked. 

Gulzar Bilal, Secretary, PBF, added that they already have finalized a plan to mobilize the youngsters and they look forward to implementing it in the very near future. 

“We are at it and we would be launching the programme for youth shortly. We do have talented and passionate youngsters playing bridge in the country which augurs well for the future,” he reckoned. 

The ceremony was attended among others by Mazhar Jafri, Khurshid Hadi and Tariq Raheed Khan, all of whom having headed the PBF in the past. The other prominent bridge players present on the occasion included Abdul Rahman Allana, Shahin Iqbal, Ghalib Bandesha, Maj (retd) Masood Zaidi, Rashid-ul-Ghazi, Hasan Askari, Dr Minhaj Kidwai and Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi.

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