Boubyan Bank lived up to its reputation as one of the strongest bank teams in the current banking circuit as they outwitted the challenge of last year’s champion Kuwait Finance House in the Kuwait Banks Club league 2015, hosted by Kuwait Cricket at their Sulaibiya ground on 4 April, 2015.
Electing to bat first on a wonderful sunny day, Boubyan openers Aamir Javed and Saber steadied their innings with a 63 run stand. Saber, after playing his part well with a solid 21 runs aided by 5 fours fell to a slower delivery from Nisar. South paw Rifkas did not last long as he was run out after having a mix up with Aamir.
Timing the ball so well which eased the pressure and not distracted with the fall of wickets at one end, the elegant stroking Aamir continued to attack the KFH bowlers with awesome power and played one of the best ever innings of the season. A third wicket partnership of 65 runs with Hisham (15 runs) saw Boubyan crossing 150 runs in the 14th over. Alwyn, coming late down the order scored a quick 17 runs and rotated the strike to give more chance to his senior partner.
Dancing down the wicket to lift the spinners out of the ground and driving the ball pitched up to him, Aamir drafted his innings to perfection and smashed 12 sixes and 10 fours to score a blisterring 142 runs as Boubyan mustered 235 runs in their allotted quota of 20 overs. Nisar Khan, with his slow off cutters was the pick of the KFH bowlers, claiming 2 wickets for just 22 runs with his master class bowling.
KFH ‘s chase began briskly and the early wickets of master blaster Zahid Khan and Faraaz dent a heavy blow to the last year’s champions. Zahid Mukadam (21 runs) anchored the innings but wickets kept on falling at regular intervals and gradually the run rate steeped up. Irfan, the ever reliable wicket-keeper batsman and Sajid put up some resistance but the Boubyan spinners Hisham, Alwyn and Mazhar bowled a tidy length to apply brakes on the talented KFH strikers.
Mohammed Arif with his quick running between the wickets contributed 17 runs but the asking rate had gone up so high that KFH folded to 114 runs in 20 overs. The Boubyan fielding was outstanding and particularly Irfan Jameel who sprinting like a well-oiled machine took 4 brilliant catches in the outfield and it was a collective team effort from all the players who contributed for the success of Boubyan.
Boubyan skipper Faraaz Azizuddin led his team from the front and made some effective bowling changes and apt field placement which led his team to score an emphatic 121 runs victory over their fancied rival. Boubyan bowlers Alwyn, Hisham and Mazhar shared two wickets each while Irfan Jameel and Rifkas took a wicket each. Having no contender to contest and to claim the player of the match award, Aamir Javed was rightly adjourned the Player of the Final for his swashbuckling innings of 142 runs.
In the KBC League Plate finals played between National Bank of Kuwait and Commercial Bank of Kuwait, a brilliant team effort and dedicated approach towards the target enabled CBK to kiss the coveted KBC Plate league trophy for the first time as they overcame a spirited and fighting resistance from the talented NBK outfit.
Winning the toss, CBK skipper Shadab Abdulla put NBK to bat first which paid rich dividend as openers Raja and prolific scorer Ronald were back in the dug-out with 6 runs on board. It was V.S. Shakhty who came next and putting his head down and once settled he started scoring on the merit of the ball to slowly build up the innings along with NBK skipper Khurram Rana. The pair gave hopes by adding 69 runs to the fourth wicket and after striking some sumptuous fours in his attractive 26 runs, Khurram Rana departed.
Hostile fast bowling by Nitin Simon and Shadab tied down the talented NBK batsmen as their 8 overs cost only 43 runs. Shakhty gradually got of the block and bounced back with some lovely drives and attractive pull shots and a ferocious back-foot punch off Habeeb was treat to watch. None of the NBK batsmen could master the CBK bowling and after the departure of Shakty for a well-made 65 runs laced with 9 hits to the fence, the NBK innings ended at 152 runs. Rahul Venketeswaran (2-24) bowled well and Habeeb supporting him well took 2 wickets for 37 runs.
Chasing 153 runs to win, CBK too lost their first 2 wickets early and it was left to Nitin Simon and Nawaz to play the anchor role. Nawaz played a stellar role and some of his copy book drives were top notch. Nitin Simon, meanwhile blossomed with his crunched drives, cuts and pulls and hit the cherry with authority and when the bowlers erred in length he was quick to swing them to square leg fence. The pair of Nitin and Nawaz produced 74 runs for the 4th wicket.
Kiran Lobo who was introduced from the Cooperative end brought back the game in favor of NBK as he first removed the well set Nawaz for 23 runs and had the top scorer Nitin well caught by keeper for a handsomely struck 60 runs ( 7 fours and 3 sixes). As the fortune swung to either sides in each over, CBK held on to their nerves and old war horse Rahul Venketeswaran and Zaheer Abbas produced some extraordinary efforts. In a do or die situation, Rahul clouted two huge sixes to the long on region to bring down the run rate and Zaheer then stepped out and launched a fearsome attack to notch 17 runs in the 18th over to bring back the scores to level.
Zaheer’s breezy knock of 22 runs contained 3 lovely sixes and Rahul remained unbeaten with 25 runs to his credit. Needing three runs to win, Sunil Jacob danced down the track and swung the ball over the deep long on region for a huge six and in came all the CBK players like a heavy downpour to lift their players as the jubilant CBK players danced to celebrate their maiden victory in the finals. Kiran Lobo bowled well to take three wickets for 26 runs. Nitin Simon was declared Player of the final for his all-round skills.
Murali Kutticode, Director, Junior and Corporate cricket (Kuwait Cricket) welcomed the guests, players, officials and other dignitaries who were present during the finals and thanked Kuwait Banks Club for their continuous support in sponsoring tournaments for bank team affiliated to KBC.
Asad Baig greeted the Chief Guest of the function Mrs. Reem Al-Wagiyan, Chairperson, Kuwait Banks Club and presented her with a memento on behalf of Kuwait Cricket. Mrs. Reem Al-Wagiyan was highly impressed with the infrastructure of Kuwait Cricket and assured Kuwait Banks Club’s support to sponsor tournaments for bank teams. She stated that she was happy to witness the final and congratulated the winning teams Boubyan and CBK and wished the losers better luck next time. Also present during the occasion was Mahmoud Bastaki, Vice Chairman, Kuwait Banks club, Abbas Al-Baluchi, Manager, Kuwait Banks club and Hussein Sayed, Administrator of KBC along with Directors of Kuwait Cricket Council.
Reem Al-Wagiyan, Chairperson of Kuwait Banks Club presented the KBC Cup trophy to Faraaz Azizuddin of Boubyan Bank and Mr. Mahmoud Bastaki, KBC Vice Chairman handed over the KBC Cup Runner up trophy to Faraaz Afzal of KFH.
Abbas Balushi, Manager, KBC presented the Plate final trophy to Shadab Abdulla of CBK and Hussein Sayed gave away the Plate Runner up trophy to Khurram Rana of NBK. Riaz Choudhry, Director, KCUP presented the Player of the match, Plate final to Nitin Simon of CBK and Asad Baig handed over the Player of the match Cup final to Aamir Javed of Boubyan. Kuwait Cricket Council Directors Mehabooh Khan and Iqbal Rajpurkar handed over the individual prizes to players.
The Plate and Cup finals were officiated by Fareed Dalwai, Naveen D’souza, Riaz Choudhry and Imran Mustafa Haji respectively while scoring job was well executed by Nadeem and Sajid.