The date, Friday, 28 November 2014 will be remembered as a day cricket in Kuwait went truly global. TACK-MG, in collaboration with Huawei created a stunning spectacle of lights, music, sound, and of course entertainment packed thrilling T20 cricket at TACK entertainment city cricket ground – Doha, which was witnessed by a capacity crowd of more than 7,000 people.
On that day, cricketers, families and friends flocked to the lush TACK Entertainment City Cricket Ground in Doha with everyone geared up for the TACK-Huawei 4Nations T20 Festival between Kuwait, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Anticipating a bigger turnout than last year, thanks to the presence of international stars, the venue was well-equipped for the day’s events with seating arrangements for 5000 people including a much bigger Corporate Guest enclosure along with grass banks and the hilly mid wicket area that accommodated more than 2000 people easily making it a grand total of more than 7 000 people. Not a single seat was empty as DJ Flames , who has become TACK’s in-house DJ since the last year’s 4Nations, spun the best tunes from the Red Bull DJ platform that resonated with fans and uplofted the mood of the games.
The first match between TACK-Kuwait XI and TACK-IndiaXI was played under the bright sunshine with Kuwait managing to keep India at bay by just 7 runs. South African master blaster Herschelle Gibbs led by skipper Mahmoud Abullah stamped his authority on the match straight away and smashed a powerful 54 off just 40 deliveries. Apart from the batting, Gibbs stayed true to his reputation of being a livewire in the field, showing everyone that he meant business and helped Kuwait reach the finals.
Scott Styris from New Zealand also chipped in with a useful 40 and watching Gibbs and Styris bat in Kuwait with such professionalism and taking Kuwait to a total of 182 is something cricket lovers in Kuwait had been craving for a very long time. The giant of Baroda Yusuf Pathan led by skipper Rishi D. Jayan, was dismissed early in his innings after a thundering knock by Pramod, which eventually was not enough as India fell short by 7 runs.
The second match between Asian giants Pakistan and Sri Lanka turned out to be a damp squib as 1996 World Cup winners Aravinda Desilva and Upul Chandana led by skipper Deepal failed to fire and the Sri Lankan team was dismissed for a paltry 87 all out. Pakistan led by skipper Khalid butt and backed up the finest reverse swinging all rounder Azhar Mahmood had no trouble chasing the small total and they emerged victorious by 8 wickets to setup an international standard Kuwait vs. Pakistan final.
As per the 4 nations format, TACK-India XI took on TACK-Sri Lanka XI to decide the 3rd & 4th position place prior to the final. After a quiet first game, the giant of Baroda Yusuf Pathan came to the party in his second match with all guns blazing as he smashed a brutal 75 with 4 towering sixes. His innings helped India grad the 3rd position title comfortable as neither Aravinda nor Upul could come to the rescue.
The mere thought of Gibbs, Styris and Adam vs Azhar, Imran Ali and Khalid butt is mouthwatering enough and with such a massive clash of talent and class, it deserved an equally glittering prelude. This is where TACK and Camco global events astounded all present with a dazzling show of lights using sky trackers, moving heads and beams, welcoming both the teams in front of a capacity crowd of more than 7000 people to national anthems and other patriotic songs.
The deputy director of touristic enterprises company Mishair Al Sanousi graced the occasion by walking to the pitch along with the president of TACK, Mr. Mohammed Ashraf shaking hands with all the captains, local and international players and wishing them luck for the big final.
TACK-Pakistan XI won the toss and elected to bat first. The opening bowling pair of Murad Khan and Scott Syris never let the top order of Pakistan settle down as the score reached 40 for 4 in 9 overs. Farhan meer smashed two back to back sixes before hitting a skier and getting out as a result. With Usman Waheed the lone warrior looking strong and determined throughout his classy knock of 35 runs, took the TACK-Pakistan XI total a reasonable 125 runs hoping the well equipped bowling attack of Pakistan could do justice to its reputation.
Adam Hollioake and the local sensation Hassan Arif opened the innings for TACK-Kuwait XI with Adam being dismissed early by the leggie Rizwan. Herschelle Gibbs in red hot form walked on to the pitch with Imran Ali of Lahore Lions and now TACK-Pak XI steaming in from the entertainment city end.
After being turned down by the umpire for an echoing LBW shout against Gibbs, Imran Ali lost his cool and that’s where Gibbs came to his usual best and smashed 20 runs in the following over which included two back to back sixes at long off and deep mid–wicket. TACK-Kuwait XI won the historical final by 5 wickets in the end with more than 10 balls to spare beating the defending champions Pakistan and stamping their authority as the new force to be reckoned with.
Apart from all the dazzling display of lighting, music and atmosphere, it was really heartening to see TACK transcend the borders of class and ethnicities and bring the communities together using the platform of cricket. There were cricket loving South Asians along with Britishers, South Africans, Australians, Guyanese, Kuwaitis and other GCC nationals enjoying the day with their friends and families. You could see the flags waving and music blaring whenever a boundary was hit or a wicket was taken.
TACK also managed to bring back the culture of pitch invasion, something you used to see back in 1970’s and ‘80s with enthusiastic fans holding their flags and running down the ground showing their love for their country, a player or just having a good time. Apart from the adults, kids also had a great time following the matches with great intent while also demonstrating support by face painting their team’s flag.
The presentation ceremony was started by the Director of Domestic Cricket and Marketing for Kuwait Cricket, Sajid Ashraf, addressing the attendees, while appreciating the efforts put in by each and every TACK committee member towards the preparations of this mega event. A special thanks was given to the event partner Huawei, platinum sponsors Gulf Four, Gulf Bank, McDonald’s, and Western Union, exclusive automotive partner Al-Mulla Group and all other important partners such as Crowne Plaza, Al Hafiz, Kuwait Swedish, Pro Sports, Al Bahar, Mais Al Ghanim, Mada and Souq.com as without their generous support this event would not have been possible.
An exceptional contribution by the Patron-in-Chief of TACK, Mahmoud Abdullah was also highly appreciated and applauded by the present members, officials and players as he confirmed a cash prize of US$ 12,000 to be distributed amongst teams and players as per their final standings in the tournament apart from his platinum partnership for the event. Also part of the presentation party was TACK’s President Mr. Mohammed Ashraf along with
The Ambassador of Pakistan to Kuwait, H.E. Mohammed Aslam Khan,who was quoted as saying, “With this event, TACK has displayed that it is the only cricket organization in Kuwait who has the team and the capacity to hold an international event of this magnitude. With all the TACK teams’ support and prayers, the association has been able to achieve the above and deliver what was promised at the inception of TACK."
The local player of the tournament, Imran from TACK-Kuwait XI walked away with a brand new car from Al Mulla – Mitsubishi Attrage which is truly a life changing moment for the performer and something he can never thank TACK enough for. Even international tournaments don’t give away cars for a mere “one day” tournament let alone this being a domestic tournament done at the highest level of international standards in terms of technical and video production. Best batsman was given to the dynamic Herschelle Gibbs who got the limited edition P7 from Huawei apart from a LED 42 inch from LG and souk.com for being the man of the finals.
TACK has already set benchmarks with each passing tournament since the last year’s event, in the finals of its regular domestic league, bank leagues or setting up state-of-the-art children’s academy but what happened on Friday was truly breathtaking; it was a sporting event the likes of which has never been witnessed in Kuwait and had everything an international sporting event should have from live DJ to live performances, from giant LED screens showing live action to drone cameras capturing all the action from breathtaking angles. What truly made the event international was of course the presence of 7 superstars representing the four nations and performing at their highest best.
With 7 top line international cricket celebrities including the likes of one of the best all-rounders produced by Pakistan i.e. Azhar Mahmood, 1996 World Cup winners Upul Chandana and Aravinda De Silva from Sri Lanka, Scott Styris from New Zealand, former England captain Adam Hollioake, South African master blaster Herschelle Gibbs and the giant of Baroda Yusuf Pathan from India, TACK has created history which is being appreciated and recognized by ICC superstar cricketers on social media such as twitter, instagram and facebook.
The buzz is so immense, that the nation of Kuwait is anticipating a new Sharjah in the making. The legends of cricket like Wasim Akram who did not even play in the event have left messages on social media acknowledging the quality of work which TACK has done and thus taking cricket to an international level in a very short span of time.
King of bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, the brand ambassador of Western Union has shown his support by holding a banner of “welcome to TACK-HUAWEI 4 Nations Festival” during the marketing campaign in the entire month of November.TACK in collaboration with Huawei has set the benchmark extremely high for other organizations in Kuwait by envisioning and successfully executing and delivering an international event on such a massive scale, an event that will be remembered for a long time to come and will only be bettered by TACK at their next event.