KUWAIT: Kuwait Cricket (KC), the official body of governing cricket in Kuwait in association with its principle partner IDP Education – official IELTS centre in Kuwait ended the historic domestic season with a bang over the weekend of 2nd and 3rd June at TACK Entertainment City Cricket Ground – Doha (TACK-TEC) & Sulaibiya Cricket Ground (SCG). With 110 unique cricket teams, as many as 2,500 players, 1026 matches live on Kuwait cricket website and more than $50,000 in cash awards to the winning teams, runners up and individual performers throughout the season, it has undoubtedly been the best domestic season that has changed the face of cricket in Kuwait and the interest amongst new teams and players is phenomenal.
As many as 9 T20 finals took place over an action packed weekend that saw the entire Kuwait Cricket fraternity including teams, players, officials and spectators enjoy the growth of domestic cricket with their respective families and friends like never before. KC-TMDL Edition 2 & KC-T20 premier league Edition 1 were the on-going cement and turf tournaments that concluded in a lively atmosphere created by DJ flames that kept the entire audience present at the ground fully entertained in both the venues of SCG & TACK-TEC.
KC – TMDL on cement saw as many as 40 teams spread across 4 divisions of A, B, C & D having played at 8 various desert grounds of Hateen, Sulaibikhat, Jleeb and Kabd where as KC-T20 Premier league on turf saw as many as 46 teams spread across 5 divisions of A, B, C, D, & E having played at both SCG & TACK-TEC over a period of 3 months and therefore, it came as no surprise that the finalists were more than ready for an epic grand finale.
Four out of the 9 mega finals took place on Thursday evening (2nd June) at TACK-TEC & SCG simultaneously with both the venues hosting two matches for the night whereas the remaining 5 finals were exclusively played on Friday (3rd June). Division E finals of KC-TMDL was played between KRH CC and the 4th Dimension. KRH CC comfortably won the match by 35 runs with Shakil Kabir Ahmad being declared the man of the finals. Division D finals of KC-TMDL was played between Smashers XI and Young Stars. Smashers XI living by their name smashed young stars 191 runs in the first innings and won the match by a huge margin of 71 runs with Sakheer Hussain being declared the man of the finals. Division C finals of KC-TMDL was played between Channels Media and Al Nida. It was a closely fought game and in the end, Channels Media came out as victorious by 16 runs with Umer Slahuddin declared as the man of the finals. Division B finals of KC-TMDL were played between The Tigers CC and ACC-Kuwait. The Tigers CC held on to their nerves by chasing a small target of 117 runs with only 3 wickets in hand and the skipper Jolly Mathew was declared the man of the finals.
KC-T20 premier league division E final was played between a very passionate Indhrani Cricket Club and Titans CC. Batting first, Indhrani CC scored 159 runs and got Titans all out at 118 runs winning the match by 41 runs with Nagarju Bandla declared the man of the finals. Division D final of KC-T20 premier league was played between Al Bader and SSH CC. Al Bader scored 133 runs batting first and SSH won the match by 6 wickets with Farook Ijaz declared as man of the finals.
Division C finals of KC-T20 premier league was played between Royal Kings and KGL cricket club. Royal Kings set a target of 147 runs for KGL batting first and KGL were short of 25 runs in their chase with Renil Raj of Royal Kings being declared the man of the finals. Division B finals were played between the famous Kuwait Hawks and the promising Artech Cricket Club. ACC-Kuwait scored 180 runs batting first and Kuwait Hawks were bundled out for 130 runs. ACC-Kuwait were declared champions of division B with their star performer Aphsal walking away with the man of the finals award.
The grand Division A finals was played between defending champions Aroma CC and a power packed AHS Punjab Cricket Club. By the time the grand Division A finals took centre stage, the audience had settled in and were ready to witness the best players of Kuwait put up a show of boundaries and entertain them with their acrobatic fielding and energy throughout the 3 hours of play. Ahs Punjab won the toss and chose to bat first. The dashing Khalid Butt got out early in the first over when Usman Waheed plucked a one hand blinder at mid on. However, the experienced Yaseen Mughal was at his Vintage best and smashed all the bowlers of Aroma all over the park with small contributions coming in from Adnan Idrees & skipper Saud Qamar. Yaseen Mughal missed out on a century and got out for a match winning 96 runs taking his teams total to a comfortable 191 runs. Aroma’s poor fielding added to the advantage of Yaseen as the veteran was dropped as many as 3 times by 3 different fielders.
Chasing a mammoth total of 198 runs, Aroma lost their star batsman Kashif early in the chase, followed by Usman, Asghar and Raveja which had the defending champions reeling at 60 for 4. From there onwards, Aroma never seemed to come back in the game and after they lost the experienced Ahsan and Ali Talib, it was more or a less curtains for them. Ahs Punjab won the finals comfortably in the end with Yaseen Mughal declared the deserving man of the finals. The celebrations by Ahs Punjab and all other winning teams was a sight to see as hundreds of players danced away to the traditional beats of Dhol celebrating a fantastic season for their respective teams before the Director of Domestic Cricket & Marketing, Sajid Ashraf started the proceedings with the presentation party.
It was undoubtedly a privilege for all the finalist teams and their respective players along with the entire Kuwait Cricket fraternity to have the chairman of the Kuwait Cricket Council, Emad Al Jassam grace the spectacular occasion with probably the loudest round of applause when he made an entry to the ground at the end of Division A grand finale. Similarly, earlier in the day, what brought a smile to many of the cricket enthusiasts was to see the visible return of the Vice President of Kuwait Cricket, Faisal Al Marzook to the cricket grounds after more than 10 years. Speaking exclusively with VOOP media, he declared that “the plans shared with me by the Director of Domestic Cricket & Marketing for Kuwait Cricket, are very impressive and cricket has grown heaps and bounds in the recent past and I am here to encourage this successful growth of Kuwait’s domestic cricket which is bound to take the national team of Kuwait to new heights of success similar to what Oman & UAE have been able to achieve in the region and it has always been my dream for as long as I can remember”.
Sajid Ashraf welcomed the presentation party that had the chairman of the KC council Emad Al Jassam, managing partner of Circle Partners UK Harshith Vora, Managing Director of Burgan International Indra, TACK International President Mohammed Ashraf, council members Imran Hajji Mustafa (director of match officials) & Tahir Khan (venue manager), organizing committee officials Rishi D Jayan (operations & website), Robert D’souza (head of logistics) and Syed Hassan Abbas (technical committee). A vote of thanks was given to first, the General Secretary of Kuwait Cricket, Haider Farman as without his guidance and leadership, it would have not been possible to bring cricket under one roof in such a centralized and professional manner. The overwhelming support of principal partners IDP – official IELTS CENTRE n Kuwait was then recognized with a huge memento of appreciation, followed by season sponsors Kuwait Swedish (official logistics partner), Al Hafiz ( official print solutions partner), Red Bull (official beverages partner) and Crowne Plaza (official hospitality partner).
To continue with, the best individual performers across all divisions in the shape of best batsman, best bowler and best all rounder were announced and every single one of them walked away with a cash prize of $120. In total, as many as 27 individuals awards were given to all the best performers of Kuwait’s domestic cricket. KC T-20 Premier league best bowler award for Division A went to Abdullah Khan for future stars for most number of wickets, best batsman was given to Usman Waheed of Aroma CC for most number of runs, and best all rounder went to the evergreen Khalid Butt of Ahs Punjab.
In addition, as many as 50 people including the 18 match officials that officiated the finals over the weekend headed by Imran Haji Mustafa, logistics staff, marketing executives, grounds staff, operations, website and other volunteers were called on to the stage in front of the capacity crowd with a huge round of applause and a gift of appreciation for all their extreme hard work and efforts in making the 2015 – 2016 season a grand success.
Finally, a photo shoot of all the finalists with the dignitaries, council members and other officials was conducted. The director of domestic cricket and marketing along with the chairman of the KC council Emad Al Jassam concluded the presentation party with a promise of having a bigger and better domestic season of 2016 – 2017 with more teams, more players, more sponsors and more support staff with an aim of being the best in the GCC region.