Kuwait Cricket, the official body of controlling cricket in Kuwait and under the auspices of Kuwait Olympic Committee has been the platform since ages to provide the basic infrastructure so as to conduct cricket tournaments to school children, local clubs, various associations and Corporate Houses, Shipping Companies and Banks.
The 9 bank teams affiliated to Kuwait Banks Club havebeen thoroughly enjoying the cricket league matches jointly being conducted by Kuwait Cricket and Kuwait Bank club, thus enabling the bankers to play quality cricket in Kuwait. The first tournament of the season which commenced in November and sponsored by Kuwait Bank club itself has almost come to a conclusion and only the finals are to be played.
The second tournament of the season, Watani trophy, sponsored by National Bank of Kuwait is in full swing and all the bank teams to the likes of Ahli Bank of Kuwait, Ahli United Bank, Boubyan Bank, Burgan Bank, Commercial Bank of Kuwait, Gulf Bank, Kuwait International Bank, Kuwait Finance House and National Bank of Kuwait are participating in this prestigious tournament.
In one of the early round matches played between Burgan Bank and Gulf bank in the Watani trophy, Burgan Bank openers Kunal Singh Thakur and Rameez set a record in the bank league tournament by scoring 252 runs without losing a wicket while electing to bat first. Their opening stand of 252 runs ensured against any concerns for Burgan as Rameez struck his maiden T20 hundred as he and Kunal Singh stood tall to hammer the Gulf Bank attack to all parts of the ground.
Rameez was more aggressive in his approach and it was an innings of immense character and composure and it took only 67 balls for him to score 151 unbeaten runs with 19 fours and 8 huge sixes. Kunal Singh drafted his innings calmly and worked the field with well-judged runs and once settled he started scoring in consistent pace and two back to back boundaries hit to the long on region showed the class of a batsman in form. As there was no need for anything reckless he punched the ball with precise timing to notch 78 runs with 4 hits to the fence and 4 well timed sixes.
Gulf Bank matched their rivals with great determination & skill and as far as Waleed and Bilal were at the crease, it seemed Gulf Bank could have created history in chasing 252 runs but Nidesh bowling from the north end swung the match in Burgan’s favor as his devastating spell accounted for the top 5 Gulf bank batsmen. Nidesh’s superb bowling of 5 for 26 runs skittled Gulf Bank 10 143 runs. It was indeed a great all-round performance from the entire Burgan team which gave them a comfortable 109 runs victory. Gulf Bank’s Waleed struck 61 valuable runs while Bilal made 40 runs.
In one of the matches played between Kuwait International Bank and Ahli United Bank for the Watani trophy, Ahli United Bank riding on a magnificent batting of Anuj Chadda who scored a career best 93 runs comfortably prevailed over KIB by a margin of 51 runs. Batting first, AUB openers Anuj and Sudheer ( 26 runs) posted a match winning and solid 112 runs opening partnership and later Fahad Bastaki hit a hurricane 26 runs to enable AUB score 192 runs in 20 overs. Ranga & Mohsen bowled well for KIB as they captured two wickets each.
In a spirited reply, KIB openers veteran Khurshid Ali and Shiraz matched their opponents in scoring 63 runs for the first wicket. Khurshid excelled in his pull shots and hit one huge six & three fours to top score with 44 runs and Shiraz played splendidly well to hit 39 valuable runs with 2 well timed sixes and 4 hits to the ropes. A late onslaught by Ranga who scored a breezy 31 runs was not enough for KIB to reach the winning score as Ramesh, Nabeel and Mahmoud Bastaki bowled well to restrict the KIB total to 141 runs.
Ahli Bank of Kuwait, fought neck to neck with National Bank of Kuwait and in a match were the balance tilted in each over, the experienced NBK outfit notched up a win by 63 runs in the robin round Watani trophy tournament. Electing to bat first, Ahli Bank of Kuwait did extremely well to restrict the fancied NBK to 212 runs in their allotted 20 overs. All the frontline NBK batsmen contributed well and Kiran Lobo who struck a classy 52 runs (4 fours and 4 sixes) top scored for NBK. Ronald and Shakti were involved in a match winning partnership of 81 runs as their running between the wickets was a class to watch. Shakti scored 37 runs ( 2 sixes & 3 fours) while Ronald struck a handsome 47 runs with 4 boundaries and 1 six. Abhishek bowled well for ABK to take 2 wickets while Fahad, Farooq & Sonu accounted for 1 wicket each.
Chasing 212, ABK openers Adil (18 runs) and Israr (20 runs) batted well to score 50 runs and in an attempt to accelerate the scoring, ABK lost wickets at regular intervals. Later in the middle order, Fahad, a talented lad played a gem of an innings (35 runs) and stamped his class as a top notch batsman in future as he single handedly countered the NBK bowling with a flawless 35 runs which contained 2 handsomely struck sixes and 3 copy book cricketing shots to the fence. Sajid of NBK was the highest wicket taker (4 for 15) and Saud 2-24 bowled well for NBK.