December 10, 2019

Omar Associates clinch PVCA National Seniors Cup


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Omar Associates from Karachi added another feather in its cap by winning the 20th National Seniors Cup Cricket Tournament 2018-19 as they outwitted Amar Cables of Lahore four wickets in the national final, held at Shah Faisal Cricket Ground, Lahore, on December 8.

A total of 107 teams from all over the country participated in the event, organized by the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA) every season since its inception in 1998-99. 

It was for the 10th time in the 20-year old history of the competition, being when a team from the southern region ran away with the trophy. 

On nine occasions a team from northern region has annexed the title while it was shared between Karachi and Lahore one time. Rashid Latif Cricket Academy (RLCA) had clinched the crown last season by outsmarting Okara, the northern region champions, in the national final at Karachi. 

Khalid Mahmood, a former Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), was the chief guest in the prize distribution ceremony where he presented a cash prize of Rs 150,000 alongwith winners’ trophy to Jaffer Qureshi, skipper of Omar Associates. The Amar Cables captain, Waqas Ahmed, collected the runners-up trophy with a purse of Rs 75,000. 

Fawad Ijaz Khan, Chairman, PVCA, and Intikhab Alam, a former Pakistan captain, manager and coach, were also present on the occasion. 

As anticipated, the national final turned out to be a closely contested affair between the two regional champions. Put into bat, Amar Cables, the northern region champions, scored 203 for the loss of eight wickets in the allotted 25 overs. Omar Associates, the southern region champions, overcame an uncertain start to chase down the target successfully with just two deliveries remaining. Nadeem Shaikh’s decisive unbeaten 38 off 21 balls earned him Man of the Match award. 

The decision of Omar Associates to insert the opponents, after calling correctly, paid dividends as the home side lost three wickets before raising 50 of their innings. 

It was Farhan Asghar’s brilliant unbeaten 81 off 60 balls which lifted Amar Cables as he clobbered one six and nine fours. Shahzad Butt’s cameo in the death overs took the total past 200. He hammered a six and four fours in his 30 off 18 balls as Amar Cables reached a respectable score of 203. Left-arm medium-pacer Kashif Pervez (3-30) was the pick of the Omar Associates bowlers. 

Amar Cables got into the driving seat by dismissing both the openers, Jaffer Qureshi and Sajid Ali, early and they still had the game in control when Omar Associates lost fourth wicket at 70 while chasing a target of 204. 

Azhar Khan’s counter-attacking 61 off 37 balls containing three sixes and six fours brought Omar Associates back in the game and then Nadeem Shaikh finished it off with a breezy 38. Afsar Nawaz also contributed an invaluable 32 off 22 balls to help the Karachi outfit overhaul the stiff target.

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