JEDDAH: Sialkot Shaheen riding undefeated so far had to face defeat at the hands of Sunbonn Sultans but despite (timely defeat to wake them up) this defeat, they continue to maintain the top position with 12 points in 7 matches, Sunbonn with this win has risen up to the 5th position with 7 points along with Landmark Arabia trying their best to win the last match and be among the top four and even Sunbonn Sultans will also be trying their best in their last match against P. Shaheen. Landmark lost the golden opportunity against Cascade Group last Friday to gain 2 points. Now they will be encountering Nadeem XI in last week’s match and this time they must win to qualify. Cascade Group and Nadeem XI are almost sure in the top three along with Sialkot Shaheen and one of the teams from Sunbonn Sultans and Landmark Arabia will take the 4th spot depending on their respective performances in the last week’s pool matches. Warraich Gujarat XI played well in the tournament and in a couple of weeks the performance has steadily risen up and we can hope to see a rejuvenated and power-packed side probably in the next tournament.

Jeddah Falcons very enthusiastically enrolled in the tournament but the performance didn’t match their zeal and they will have to strengthen the batting as well as bowling line to be among the better teams. Apex crushed Super CC by a huge margin, however, Apex Freight’s performances have been wavy in the last few tournaments with up and down results, so they will have to be consistent at least now to reckon with and to be among the top in the Prime Group.

AEC was performing well in crucial matches in the past but now in this tournament, their performance was below average although they carry a good team, they did not do justice and now they need to buckle up and cover up the weaknesses in the batting line up in the next tourneys. Al Saudi XI is going well in departments of the game and to me, they look to be the best in the Prime Group and rightly so, they are leading the Points table at the moment. The talk of the town is their encounter against BUPA CC next Friday Morning as the result will have an impact on BUPA’s qualification for the Playoffs. Al Saudi XI is already qualified as the topper on the Table.

Match # 69: Sunbonn Sultans won the toss against Sialkot Shaheen to use the track first to pile up 165 for 9 in the allotted 18 overs on ground # 7. Roamn stroked 37 in 20 balls with 3 sixes and 3 fours as he stitched 50 in 26 balls for the first wkt with Sufiyan (17) to give a solid start in the power play. Zubair then made 26 in 15 balls with 2 sixes and 2 fours in the mid-innings to get to 100 for 5 in the 12th over. Faisal coming at #6 hit 31 in 16 balls with 3 fours to add 52 in 31 balls for the 6th wkt with Azeem 25 in 14 balls with 3 fours and a six to get to an impressive 165 for 9 in 18 overs. Two scalps each were taken by Hammad, Nazim and Yasir.

Sialkot Shaheen in reply was stranded at 159 for 9 in the stipulated 18 overs to lose their first match of the tournament by a thin margin of 6 runs. Yasir hit 43 in 23 balls with 2 sixes and 4 fours as he stitched 59 in 40 balls for the 3rd wkt with Rao who hammered 52 in 38 balls with six and 6 fours to get to 105 for 4 in the 11th over requiring 61 runs in remaining 42 balls with 6 wkts in hand. But the batters to follow could not stay long enough at the wicket and none of the batters could touch the double-digit to be restricted to 159 for 9 to lose by 6 runs. Syed Shah grabbed 4 wkts for 17 runs in his 3 overs. This is a wake-up call to Sialkot Shaheen for the Playoffs to wake up now to be alert in the Knock out stage to get to the top as the failure of the middle order in crucial matches may push them down.

Match # 70: Cascade Group on Ground # 5 opted to bat first against Landmark Arabians and was bowled out for 111. Wahajuddin top scored with 27 in 21 balls with 4 fours, Irfan Ayazuddin 22, Imran Abedi 13 and Adil Deshmukh 11 as none other from their ranks. could cross the ten-digit mark. Mujassim and Bitu had 3 wkts against their names for 20 and 21 runs respectively as Shahul took 2 wkts.

Landmark Arabia in response had a golden chance to rise up the Points table to qualify for the knockout stage but then the Batters did not do justice and were restricted to 99 for 9 in the stipulated 18 overs to lose by 12 runs. Abhijit scored 25 in 30 balls, Siyam 11, Faizan 12 and Ashish 11 not out were the run-getters but then it was not enough and Landmark Arabia just could not deliver when it mattered the most. This was a crucial match for Landmark Arabia to set itself among the top four in the Points Table but could not do so. Now their last pool match is against Nadeem Xi and will have to fight tooth and nail to win. Hammaduddin took 3 for 17 and Ahmed Baldref 2.

Match # 71: Warraich Gujarat XI opting to bat first against Jeddah Falcons piled up 166 for 4 in allotted 18 overs on Ground # 8. Mehboob Hassan top scored with an unbeaten 68 in 46 balls with the help of 4 sixes and 3 fours as he first added 94 runs in 54 balls for the 2nd wkt with opener Sadaqat who hit 3 sixes and 4 fours to compile 59 in 42 balls and then total boosting 54 in 36 balls for the unbroken 3rd wkt with Mohsin (12). Adeel was run out for 12. Naseer took 2 wkts.

Jeddah Falcons in response was restricted to 125 for 8 in the stipulated 18 overs to lose by 41 runs. Ayyub Kazi made 23 in 18 balls with 3 fours, Sher Bahadur top scored with 39 off 27 balls with six and 5 fours, Qatah Kazi 16 and Fauzan Kazi 13. Salman and Mohsin shared 2 wkts each.

Match # 72: The match between Apex Freight and Super CC was a record-setting one as Apex Freight batting first amassed 223 for 5 in the allotted 18 overs and then crushed Super CC for just 18 runs to win by mammoth 205 runs. Absolutely unbelievable in the sense that Super CC was the Champion last Tournament and they had set excellent records in the last couple of tournaments now suddenly they seem to be in the doldrums and their performance has dipped acutely down. Apex Freight decided to bat first and plundered a massive 223 for 5 in the allotted 18 overs. Apex at the beginning of the innings didn’t exhibit any extraordinary batting as at one stage they were 61 for 4 in the 7th over and it looked quite ordinary. Umair made 28 in 17 balls with 4 fours, Naeem 12 and Sulaiman 7. But then the carnage started here as Zahid blasted 80 runs in 39 balls studded with 12 fours and a six while Abubaker remained unbeaten on 56 off 34 balls with 7 fours to add 142 runs in mere 60 balls to get to 203 in the 17th over. Eventually, they could take the tally to 223 for 5 in 108 balls. Moosaa was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 52.

Super CC in response just succumbed for 18 for 7 within the stipulated 14 overs in 40 balls (6.4 overs). None from the top order could resist as Asif claimed 4 wkts for 7 runs in his 3 overs while Umair and Jean had 1 each. Sheer disappointment from a team which was rocking just a tournament ago.

Match # 73: Black Hawks using the track first against Transparent Mask racked up 189 for 9 in allotted 18 overs on Ground # 4. Asghar coming 2 down hammered 78 in 29 balls studded with 8 sixes and 4 fours as he first added 57 in 32 balls for the 3rd wkt with Anas who made 29 in 18 balls with 4 fours and then 48 for the 4th wkt with Abdulrafay who made 27 in 26 balls with 4 boundaries to get past 150 in the 13th over. Amir later stroked 18. Shahrukh grabbed 3 for 51 as Mohammed Ali and Imran Ghouse had 2 each.

Transparent Mask in response was stranded at 123 for 5 in the stipulated 18 overs to lose by 66 runs. Mehmood Tahir scored 18 with 2 fours, Ghulam Ghouse 12, and Mohammed Ali 21 in 14 balls with 4 hits to the fence. Hasnain Ali then compiled an unbeaten 26 in 33 balls with 2 sixes and Shahrukh’s unbeaten 20 in 16 balls to get to 123. Sherry and Anas claimed 2 pieces each.

Match # 74: In the last encounter of the day Al Saudi XI batted first after losing the toss against AEC and slammed 183 for 7 in the allotted 18 overs. Omerdeen once again showed his prowess with the bat and his form to blast 107 in 56 balls studded with 6 sixes and 9 fours as his fifty came in 30 balls and his hundred in 49 balls, he stitched 84 in 39 balls for the first wkt with Kashif Shafeeq who made 38 in 23 balls with 5 fours and a six, then 39 for the 2nd wkt with Adnan (16) and then 54 in 21 balls for the 3rd wkt with Nayyar (6). Sajid of AEC scalped 3 for 14 including the HAT TRICK in his 3rd over and overall 17th over in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th balls. Abdulrehman Patel had 2 wkts to his name.

AEC responded with all out for 144 to lose by 39 runs. The top order batted well as Umair Uvais hit 33 in 11 balls with 8 fours to add 45 for the opening stand with Imtiyaz who made 23 in 11 balls. Tariq then stroked 28 in 14 balls with 4 sixes and a four to get to 105 for 3 in the 10th over requiring another 84 runs in the remaining 8 overs with 7 wkts intact. But the batters to follow could not perform to their potential and lost wkts in a heap to be reduced to 119 for 6 and then further slumped to 144 for 9 in the 15th over and the plan of chasing subsided. Waqas made 11 and Sajid 14. Nadeem Saad had 3 for 51 and Kashif Shafeeq had 2.

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