Boubyan Bank lived up to their reputation of being a top notch team in the Banking cricketing league as they won a decisive 57 run victory over Kuwait Finance House in the CUP final of Watani Trophy sponsored by National Bank of Kuwait. This was Boubyan Bank’s third trophy of the season.
Batting first, Boubyan opener Sabir Ali and one drop batsman Rifkas Ibrahim fell early and it was Aamir Javed and seasoned campaigner Alwyn Dsouza who brought all their experience to snuff out the hostile KFH attack. It initially looked like Aamir had misjudged his timing and once settled he eventually blasted the KFH bowlers with some power packed strokes. Alwyn ensured that he got under the ball and unleashed some muscular drives over the fielders head and his entertaining knock of 43 runs was a treat to watch.
When both the Boubyan batsmen were in full flow, Fazalur Rehman, the leg spinner of KFH and a veteran of many battles bowled to restrict the star studded Boubyan batsmen. Fazalur bowled fuller and straighter and the batsmen were in no position to smother the spin with ease. Saad Khalid was another KFH bowler who bowled his heart out. Meanwhile KFH were dealt with a big blow as their skipper Faraaz Mohamed was injured and had to retire hurt. The score card rocketed with the arrival of Abid Mustaq who chose to play with the turn and clearing his front foot laced the ball to all parts of the ground. Meanwhile, Aamir was unlucky to miss his century as his classy knock of 87 runs was laced with 6 fours and 6 hits over the fence. Abid Mustaq remained unbeaten with 48 runs in just 18 deliveries which had 5 well timed sixes and 2 fours. Boubyan scored 201 runs in their allotted 20 overs. Saad Khalid 1 for 20 and Fazalur Rehman 1 for 24 were the most successful bowlers for KFH.
KFH batsmen responded brilliantly as opener Zahid Khan kept the asking rate under control with some clean hits over the fence. Bassam Parkar supported Zahid in accelerating the score and as the duo was shaping up well, Bassam’s powerfully hit blinder was caught by Abid Mustaq at long off. Joining Zahid Khan, Saad Khalid who was initially slow but blossomed into tremendous form as the duo raced to 72 runs in just 35 balls. As these batsmen were slowly racing towards the victory target Abid Mustaq again took a full blooded drive from Zahid and went on to take 2 more breathtaking catches to put KFH in the back foot. Saad Khalid stroked 41 runs with 5 huge sixes. Wasim Aslam scored 14 quick runs but right arm off spinner Alwyn who came from the Cooperative store end folded the KFH innings by quickly wrapping the last 4 KFH batsmen. Alwyn bowled well to take 4 wickets for just 13 runs.
Abid Mustaq for his blistering knock of 48 runs and 4 marvelous catches was declared Player of the Match.
In a close and exciting Plate final played between Ahli Bank of Kuwait (ABK) and National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the dark horses of the tournament ABK made NBK ran for their money as Irfan Khaleel who has been ABK trump card in the two semifinals which they had won again rose to the occasion and almost won the game for ABK. The experienced NBK bowlers kept their nerves to win the match by a margin of 23 runs.
Being good chasers, ABK put NBK to use the fresh pitch and the NBK top order batsmen stuck to their task by scoring at brisk pace. The technically sound Ronald Fernandez stayed at the wicket and kept the score tickling with skipper Khuram Rana who struck a valuable 17 runs. Yasser Idrees scored a quick 14 runs and at the end of 12 overs NBK had scored 82 runs for the loss of 2 wickets. Ronald Fernandez anticipating the length of the delivery rocked back and cut with immense power and occasionally transferred his weight to play powerful on drives. Shakti Sasidharan improvised his strokes and generated enough power to carve the ball over cover region and any over pitched deliveries were walloped over midwicket. Fahad Sijal executing his yorkers well, bowled brilliantly for ABK, claiming 3 for 31 runs.
Ronald anchored NBK’s innings with a patient 54 runs which had 4 well timed hits to the fence while Shakti clubbed a breezy 32 runs as NBK posted a decent total of 145 runs in their 20 overs. Anthony, Adil Mhaiskar and Abdul Rauf bagged a wicket each for ABK.
Not a very formidable score to chase, ABK batsmen played positively but also lost wickets at regular intervals. The chief tormentor was Rehman Ansari who bowled a hostile spell and his faster deliveries moved away from the middle and off stick. Khaja Moinuddin scored a patient 14 runs while Irfan Khaleel took the battle to the NBK camp and with a straight bat, he packed his strokes with awesome power and sliced the ball to find the gaps in the gully region. ABK’s hope faded away as Irfan Khaleel after scoring a masterly 46 run was back in the pavilion and his knock contained 2 fours and 2 huge sixes. Fahd Siyal and Abdul Rauf scored 10 and 11 runs respectively. Rehman Ansari who bowled a brilliant spell was declared Player of the match.
Asad Baig, Director General of Kuwait Cricket, Murali Kutticode, Director, Junior and Corporate Cricket, Imran Mustafa Haji, Director, Umpiring panel, match referee Irfan Adil and senior umpire Abdul Qayyum were present during the concluding ceremony.
The prize distribution ceremony was graced by the presence of Abdul Aziz Deyab from NBK’s Public Relations Department as he presented the Cup Winners trophy to Boubyan skipper Mohammed Faraaz and the Cup runner up trophy to KFH skipper Faraz Mohammed. Later, he handed over the Plate final trophy to NBK skipper Khuram Rana. Saud Qamar presented the Plate Runner up trophy to ABK representative.
Asad Baig, Director General, Kuwait Cricket handed over a memento to Abdul Aziz to express Kuwait Cricket’s gratitude and appreciation to NBK Management for their continuous support in sponsoring Watani Trophy. In the thanks giving speech, Murali Kutticode thanked the Management of Kuwait Banks Club, Ahli United Bank, Ahli Bank of Kuwait and Boubyan Bank for sponsoring cricket tournaments for bank employees.