Kuwait Banks Club in association with Kuwait Cricket has been organizing cricket tournaments for Bank team affiliated with Kuwait Banks club since many years and a total number of 9 bank teams to the likes of Ahli United Bank, Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait, Boubyan Bank, Burgan Bank, Commercial bank, National Bank of Kuwait, Gulf Bank, Kuwait International Bank and Kuwait Finance House are participating in this prestigious cricket tournaments designed for Bank teams only.
Kuwait Cricket, the official body of governing cricket activities in Kuwait has been providing all infrastructure facilities to Bank teams, school & junior teams as well as Shipping Company teams and the Corporate houses are very much enjoying the lush green ground and a wonderfully prepared turf wicket at Sulaibiya.
The tournament is being played in the T20 format where teams are divided into two pools and the top two teams from each pool goes to the CUP semifinal whereas the third & fourth teams from each pool moves to the Plate semifinals.
This format enables almost every team to have a chance to get into either the Cup final or the Plate final. This season the 9 bank teams will be competing in three tournaments namely, KBC league 2015, sponsored by Kuwait Banks Club, Watani trophy sponsored by National Bank of Kuwait & AUB trophy sponsored by Ahli United Bank.
In the KBC league 2015, the first tournament of the season, Boubyan Bank and Kuwait Finance House has marched up to the finals and considering the form of their topnotch players, the finals is meant to be a clash of the Titans. In the first Cup semifinal, Boubyan Bank who were pitched up with Gulf Bank won comfortably by a huge margin of 130 runs.
Electing to bat first Boubyan got a shock when Saber was bowled by Bilal but Aamir Javed & Rifkas gave them a flying start by posting 104 runs for the second wicket. Aamir scored a breezy 63 in just 20 deliveries with six huge sixes & 5 boundaries while Rifkas scored a classy 34 runs.
The score had rocketed to 186 when Hisham Mirza & Aywyn scored freely while a cameo knock of 24 runs by Mazar enabled Boubyan to post a handsome total of 238 runs. Rafat Khan, of Gulf Bank, one of the senior most players in the banking league along with Bilal & Nadeem bowled well to capture 2 wickets each
Gulf Bank found themselves guilty of not scoring many more runs and got themselves all out for 108 runs. Throughout their innings Gulf Bank maintained a healthy run rate despite the fall of wickets at regular intervals but none could withstand the well-oiled Boubyan bowlers for a long time.
Hanson Nicholas, the Gulf Bank opener stood amongst the ruins and exhibited superb technique to score a stylish 63 runs, studded with 8 fours & 2 sixes. Irfan (Junior), Aamir & Mazhar of Boubyan bowled well and took two wickets each. Aaamir Javed, being named Player of the tournament while representing the State of Kuwait in the recently concluded Asian Cricket Council T20 tournament was undoubtedly declared Player of the match for his brilliant all-round skills.
In one of the most exciting matches played in the KBC league trophy, KFH players kept their nerves cool to notch up an astonishing 5 wicket victory over a spirited challenge posted by Ahli United Bank in the second CUP semifinal.
AUB batting first scored a decent total of 164 for the loss of 6 wickets. After they lost opener Sunil earlier, Dinesh & Fahad Bastaki put on 44 runs for the second wicket. Fahad Bastaki a regular member of Kuwait National team has brushed up his batting skills and scored 29 runs while Dinesh scored a quick 19 runs.
Fall of wickets at regular intervals delt a heavy blow to AUB but a swashbuckling innings of 66 runs (in 35 balls) by Nabeel Ghafoor helped AUB to pile up a total worth fighting. Nabeel sent the ball 7 times out of the ground and scored 3 boundaries in his wonderful innings. Arif was the most successful bowler for KFH, bagging 2 wickets with his flighted deliveries.
Chasing 164 on a spinning track was never easy and KFH replied steadily as stocky opener Zahid using his feet played a sweet innings of 28 runs with 5 well struck boundaries. Mahmoud Bastaki & Dinesh bowled with great accuracy and flight and at halfway, KFH were 85 with their top 4 batsmen in the dugout.
It was at this stage that Faraz, the skipper of KFH played a stellar knock of 69 runs and got back KFH into the game. KFH, needing to score 17 runs in the last over and having their top 5 batsmen back in the pavilion found the determined Sajjid who struck a boundary in the last ball of the innings to carve a handsome victory to the much delighted KFH players. Dinesh & Mahmoud Bastaki took 2 wickets each for AUB. Faraaz was rightly declared Player of the Match for his match winning knock of 69 runs.
National Bank of Kuwait reached the Plate final of KBC trophy by scaling over Burgan Bank. The talented Rameez who has been the pillar of strength for Burgan opened up with Kunal Singh and soon they settled well and in no time the ball was send for a leather hunt to all parts of the ground.
The powerfully built Rameez played copy book shots to score a polished 64 runs to his credit and Kunal stroked a handsome 34 runs. After the departure of the openers, Burgan batsmen struggled to counter slow bowlers Binu Mathew & Ronald and at the end of 20 overs scored 143 runs.
A dashing 69 runs by wicket-keeper batsman Shakti who played with precise timing & skill paved the way for NBK to notch up the required runs in the 17th over. The right handed Shakti who had played for the Southern Indian State, Kerala in the U 22 squad excelled in his drives and cuts and his innings was laced with 4 towering sixes and six fours. Ronald again did well with the bat with a strokefull 28 runs. Asharf bowled well for Burgan to take 2 wickets. Shakti’s superb knock of 69 runs fetched him the Player of the match award.
A scintillating knock of 91 runs in just 38 balls by Nitin and a match winning second wicket partnership of 128 runs between skipper CBK skipper Shadab & Nitin led CBK to a convincing victory over Kuwait International Bank in the second Plate semifinal played at Sulaibiya ground.
Batting first CBK openers Ajith Nair & Nitin put on a quick 30 runs in 12 balls and after Ajith fell to Sanal for 10, Shadab joined Nitin and the duo quickly came in terms with the KIB attack & slowly started building the innings with some stunning shots all-round the ground and quick running between the wickets.
With nimble footwork and positive approach, Nitin struck the cherry with awesome power and his knock of 91 runs contained 6 well timed sixes and 8 boundaries. Shahdab, in his 41 balls knock contributed a classically stroked 72 runs which had 9 hits to the fence a huge six to post 209 runs, the highest score of the season. For KIB, Manoj Sharma was the most successful bowler with 3-41 whereas Sanal & Sheraz captured 2 wickets each for 34 & 36 runs respectively.
KIB chasing a mammoth total did extremely well to match their opponents and started in a positive manner. Manoj Sharma ( 23 runs) & Nadeem (18 runs) were engaged in a fruitful partnership but that was not enough to accelerate the scoring rate. Middle order batsman Johar then came to the rescue of KIB as he clubbed a quick 44 runs in as many balls which in a way was a great consolation for KIB to post 114 runs. Nitin, for his knock of 91 got the Player of the match award.