Kuwait City: In a glittering ceremony flanked by many cricket lovers, Mahmoud Bastaki, Vice Chairman of Kuwait Banks Club, along with Asad Baig, Director General, Kuwait Cricket and members of Kuwait Cricket Executive Committee, officially inaugurated the Kuwait Banks Club League 2014 cricket tournament by cutting a cake. The KBC league has been exclusively designed for bank teams affiliated to Kuwait Banks Club and a total number of 8 bank teams to the likes of Ahli United Bank, National Bank of Kuwait, Kuwait Finance House, Burgan Bank, Gulf Bank, Ahli Bank of Kuwait, Boubyan Bank & Kuwait International Bank are participating in this prestigious tournament. The function was also graced by the presence of other Directors of Kuwait Cricket, Sudhakar Shetty, Technical Affairs Director, Riaz Choudhary, KCUP Director, Mehboob Khan, Women’s Cricket Director, Murali Kutticode, Director Junior and Corporate Cricket, Deputy Directors Taher Khan , Amanulah Palekar, Mohammed Naeem Jaan and members of Kuwait National women team.
Ahli United Bank (AUB) & National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) were the proud outfits to have had the opportunity to use the newly designed Sulaibiya cricket ground, which has now become the talk of the town for its lush green outfield and three lovely laid blocks of International standards. The ground which was given a new facelift recently by Kuwait Cricket has good facilities for the players, with two fiber glassed dug outs and dressing room for players who can have a shower to keep themselves fresh during the match. Moreover, the lush green outfield gives the ground a very picturesque look. The Sulaibiya Cricket stadium, maintained by Kuwait cricket is probably the most beautifully cricket ground in Kuwait and the newly installed flood lights at this venue fulfills the dream of playing night cricket too.
In the inaugural match of the Kuwait Banks Club league 2014, both the teams locked horns and AUB holding their nerves, lived up to their reputation of being one of the top teams as they notched up a narrow 7 runs victory over their arch rivals NBK. The clash of the titans was witnessed by a large gathering of cricket lovers and members of the Kuwait National women’s team along with the officials of Kuwait Cricket.
Winning a potentially valuable toss, AUB skipper Mahmood Bastaki elected to bat first and soon lost their opener Dinesh caught in front of the wicket. Jagath Roshantha & Ghayoor Ahmed played sensible cricket by nudging singles & doubles and the pair put on 36 runs for the second wicket. The stylish Ghayoor using his feet to the pitch of the deliveries soon settled to counter the NBK attack as he flicked, drove and square cut with precise timing to play a match winning knock of 68 runs which had five well timed boundaries. Sajid provided the much needed support to Ghayoor by scoring a quick-fire 19 runs. The NBK unit had sufficient variety in their fast bowling as well as spin department and the balls variable movement, steady bowling and brilliant fielding restricted the AUB total to 136 in 20 overs. Binu Mathew was the most successful bowler with 3-32 while Jalal & Kiran took two wickets each for 20 & 16 runs respectively.
Despite the heavy outfield, Andrew Pinho, opening the batting for NBK cracked a cameo 25 runs to put 42 runs on board along with Sarfaraz which gave NBK a flying start. Andrew was soon bowled by a snorter from Nabeel and Dinesh sent back Ronald to the pavilion. As soon as the openers finished their spell, Mahmood Bastaki, the captain of AUB quickly imposed himself on and soon got rid of Ian. Flighting the ball & maintaining accurate line & length, Mahmoud lured the well settled Sarfaraz who was beaten in the air only to be stumped by Srikumar for a dashing 25 runs. On a slower track, the spinners were more effective and Dinesh, Mahmoud & Abdul Rashid ran through the NBK innings which folded to 128 runs. Ghayoor Ahmed was rightly declared “Player of the match for his excellent knock.
In the second match, Kuwait Finance House, (KFH) last year’s Champions, began their hunt with a convincing 7 wickets win over Ahli Bank of Kuwait. Riding on a swashbuckling innings of 53 in just 33 ball by opener Abdulla, KFH completed the proceedings in the 9th over by reaching the target of 70 runs. Earlier, ABK, winning the toss & elected to bat first and were dismissed for 69 runs. KFH captain Faraz himself being the chief wicket taker (3-16) and extending the bowling options which enabled him to use Nizar & Mohammed Arif who took 2-12 & 2-10 respectively to skittle the ABK line up. Abdulla of KFH was declared Player of the match which was presented to him by Sameer Desai, Director Coaching panel. Irfan of ABK bowled his heart out to bag two wickets for 18 runs.
In the late afternoon match, the new look Boubyan Bank, flanked with the addition of a couple of youngsters, cracked a dashing 81 runs victory over Burgan Bank. Batting first, Boubyan bank scored 161 runs, thanks to some enterprising batting from opener Aamer who clouted 4 huge sixes to score 47 runs in just 23 balls. Thereafter, Hisham Mirza & skipper Boubyan skipper Faraz carried the onslaught with aggression & confidence as they scored freely on a dry & cracking surface. Hisham contributed a stylish 37 runs while Faraaz scored a valuable 23 runs which enabled Boubyan to reach 161 runs in 20 overs. Burgan skipper Ejaz, probably one of the senior most cricketer playing in the bank league stamped his class with an outstanding spell with the ball, capturing 3-42 as Manohar 2-20 & Dilip 2-29 bowled well too.
Chasing 162 to win the match, Burgan were unable to master the bowling skills of Hisham & Mazhar and were skittled out for 80 runs. Arther (19 runs) and Dilip (20 runs) were the only batsmen who countered the Boubyan attack. Hisham bagged 3-12, while Mazhar & Abdul Raheem chipped in with 2 wickets each. Hisham Mirza for his all-round skills was presented with the player of the match award.
All the matches were officiated by Kuwait Umpires panel who did an outstanding job and the scores were available online throughout the day.