The Diasqua Little Sai Wan Cricket Club faced the Pakistan Association Cricket Club in the annual Quaid I Azam Cup match earlier this week over at Tin Kwong Road Recreational Ground. A historic match-up between the two clubs, this game also counts as part of the CHK Premier League 2-Day competition. The winner of this game moves on to the Final, to be played early in 2019, where they will face Kowloon Cricket Club, who won the Hancock Shield earlier this month.Both sides lined up with plenty of talent, with the likes of Tanwir Afzal, Ehsan Khan, Ehsan Nawaz, Hamed Khan and Aftab Hussain from the National squad, and Mohammad Hassan, Nasrullah Rana, Munir Khan and Mehran Zeb from the U19s. Zeeshan Ali and Yasim Murtaza -both with plenty of experience in Pakistan domestic cricket- were also taking part, as well as former national-team star all-rounder Munir Dar.
Last year’s game between both sides saw an outright victory for Pakistan Association by 8 wickets, and they went on to win the final against Kowloon Cricket Club by first innings lead. They would be looking for a repeat of this performance, and after winning the toss, PACC once again sent DLSW CC in to bat. Tanwir Afzal and Ehsan Nawaz then tore through the top order, reducing DLSW CC to 47/5 in 16 overs. Ehsan bowled a 9 over spell up front, and Tanwir bowled 12, and together got PACC off to a fantastic start. Amandeep Singh, opening the batting for DLSW CC, blazed 27 off 18 balls (5 fours), but the rest of the top order could not cross double digits.
Spin was introduced in the 20th over in the form of Yasim Murtaza, and it did not take him long to strike, as he removed Ehsan Khan for a stubborn 11 in the 26th over. He added the wicket of Mehran Zeb shortly after, and Ehsan Nawaz returned to removed Mohammad Hasan, leaving DLSW CC at 78/8. Ehsan Ayaz battled away for 26 (70 balls, 2 fours, 1 six), and put on 21 runs with Khan Mohsan, but was dismissed with the score at 99, and DLSW CC were bowled out just four balls later for 101. Tanwir (12-2-46-3), Nawaz (13-5-19-3) and Yasim (7.3-0-28-3) did the bulk of the damage, with Mohammad Ishtiaq bowling a singe over for a wicket maiden. DLSW CC were bowled out within a session, and PACC were favorites to secure a first innings lead.
DLSW CC snuck out a couple of early wickets in the second innings – young left arm spinner Mohammad Hassan opening the bowling and getting the big scalps of Hamed Khan and Zeeshan Ali, reducing PACC to 17/2. Yasim Murtaza hit a quick 29, but was dismissed with the score at 51, and DLSW CC sensed they had a half a chance.
But Tanwir Afzal shut down those chances with a batting clinic. Coming out to open the batting, he took his time to settle in, and started to find the fence regularly in trademark fashion. He tackled a spin-heavy DLSW CC attack in style, and together with Daniyal Bukhari (35 off 76, 3 fours, 2 sixes) put on 131 runs for the 4th wicket in just 27.2 overs. Together their partnership took PACC into the first innings lead, and Tanwir brought up an excellent century in the process, scoring at close to run-a-ball. Daniyal was dismissed with about an hour to go till close of play on Day 1, and Tanwir was joined by Ehsan Nawaz at the crease. Together they saw off the day with no further loss, PACC ending on 225/4 after 57 overs. With a massive first innings lead, victory was all but ensured for PACC, and DLSW CC would start Day 2 needing a miraculous turnaround to find a way back into the game.
Tanwir opened up and went hard at the bowling early on Day 2, but was dismissed 9th over of the day, stumped by Ehsan Khan for a brilliant 165 (211 balls, 13 fours, 12 sixes). DLSW CC then continued to work their way through the lower order, but it was too little too late. Ehsan Nawaz brought up a fine fifty, and was 9th man dismissed for 59 (125 balls, 8 fours, 1 six), as PACC finished on 315 all out in exactly 90 overs. It had taken DLSW CC 33 overs and another 90 runs to wrap up the innings, and they trailed by 214 runs with a couple of sessions to survive in order to secure a losing draw. PACC, on the other hand, had an outright win to play for, with their spot in the finals all but secured.
Tanwir decided spin would be the way to go if PACC are to secure the outright win, and Yasim Murtaza was brought on to bowl in the 6th over. He bowled unchanged for 24 overs, and took 7 wickets in the process, using all his experience and skill to work through DLSW CC’s batting on a wearing wicket. Aftab Hussain offered up resistance with 36 off 81 balls, and Amandeep Singh hit another brisk 24, but despite their best efforts the DLSW CC batting could not make it to the end of the day. They were bowled out for 122 after 53 overs of resistance, with about an hour left in the days play. Yasim Murtaza final figures for the innings were 7/54, and he completed a 10-wicket haul for the game, with 10/82. There were also wickets for Manjinder Singh (8-3-14-2) and Mohammad Ishtiaq (3.2-1-4-1).
An outstanding all-round effort by PACC to retain the Quaid I Azam Cup.