Pakhtoon Blasters players pose for a picture after winning their match against Pakhtoon Warriors.
Jamshaid Butt entered the record books as the first centurion of the Beaver Gulf Pro Bash, the first domestic franchise tournament in Abu Dhabi conducted by Indopak Sports.
Jamshaid thumped 15 fours and five sixes in a 80-ball 118 not out but his effort’s went in vain as Pakhtoon Warriors went down to Pakhtoon Blasters by five wickets in the opening weekend of the tournament at the Al Ain Cricket Club grounds.
The Warriors electing to take first lease of the wicket, and with Jamshaid’s contribution, posted 179 for the loos of seven wickets in the allotted 25 overs.
But quick-fire half centuries from the Blasters openers Faheem Malik (19-ball 50) and Haroon Khan (41-ball 63) set the platform for a successful chase and wrap up the win with 5.4 overs to spare.
The Blasters were bouncing back from their opening game defeat to Lahore Sikandars by eight runs on Thursday’s opening day.
The Warriors suffered their second defeat after losing their opener to Hyderabad Nawabs by five runs.
Jamshaid top scored for the Warriors again. He hit a 52-ball 83 in the team’s 196 for seven in reply to the Nawabs 201 for seven, thanks to a 60-ball 91 from Adnan Nisar.
Chennai Knights thumped Abu Dhabi Dragons by 109 runs in the other game of the weekend.
Chennai Knights won the toss and elected to bat first. They suffered early blows as Abu Dhabi Dragons’ pacer Shadab Ahamed removed their opener Inam Fareed in the opening over of the match.
Later, Muhammed Asif and Irfan Zafar revived their innings. Asif smashed 39 off 32 balls. Zafar added 20.
They both lost the wicket while going for the big hits.
Following their return to the dressing room, Chennai Knights lost wickets at regular interval. Abid Ali waged a long battle and played a patient knock of 48 runs as Chennai Knights posted 185 for the loss of nine wickets.
In reply, Abu Dhabi Dragons were off to worst start as they lost three wickets with just five runs on the board.
UAE international Mohammed Usman, a marquee signing of the inaugural 25-over tournament, and Sunet Sampath only delayed the inevitable with a 32-run partnership but Abu Dhabi Dragons finally found themselves by a rival team. Abu Dhabi Dragons were all out for 76.
The Pro Bash sanctioned by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and played in the 25 over-a-side format in the Indian Premier League-style has drawn seven teams.
“The concept here is to provide a strong platform for cricketers to compete at a good level,” Ahamed, the event director of organisers Indopak Sports, said.
“We got this idea to start the Pro Bash because many cricketers don’t get to play on turf wickets. The majority of the matches are confined to low-level competitions and on cement wickets.
“There are turf wicket facilities but that comes at a price. It is beyond the means of those aspiring to play for the UAE national team. One of our objectives is to provide them with the opportunity to develop their cricket,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has suspended all cricketing activities in the UAE for all age groups till March 31, despite the fact that there has been no casualty reported of the 98 positive COVID-19 cases tracked so far.
“Cessation of all cricket activities at councils/clubs/academies/teams for all age groups with immediate effect until March 31, 2020,” the ECB said in a statement in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak which has claimed over 6,000 lives so far across the world.
The board further said that resuming of the cricket-related activities “will be considered only following any update from the higher government authorities”.
Hyderabad Nawabs 201 for 4 in 25 overs
(Adnan Nisar 91, Rizwan Hafiz 52) beat Pakhtoon Warriors 196 for 7 in 25 overs (Jamshaid Butt 83, Muzammil Afridi 61 not out, Rizwan Hafiz 3-15).
Lahore Sikandars 153 for 6 in 25 overs
(Talha Mohammed 3-5) beat Pakhtoon Blasters 145 for 9 in 25 overs (Faheem Malik 51, Mohammed Naeem 3-24).
Chennai Knights 185 for 9 in 25 overs
(Ali Abid 48) beat Abu Dhabi Dragons 76 all out in 15.4 overs (Raja Akif 3-24).
Pakhtoon Blasters 184 for 5 in 19.2 overs (Jamshaid Butt 118 not out, Faisal Iqbal 3-23) beat Pakhtoon Warriors 179 for 7 in 25 overs (Haroon Khan 63, Faheem Malik 50).
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