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Oman Cricket Premier Division: Muscat emerges champs

13 Mar 2021 By ASHOK PUROHIT

Oman Cricket’s Premier Division (50-over-a-side) concludes with Al Turki NMC taking runner-up spot 

Eight years since they won the inaugural top-flight domestic title (50-over-a-side) played on the turf wicket at Al Amerat, Muscat CT regained glory on Saturday as they were crowned Oman Cricket Premier Division (50-over-a-side) champions. 

On the concluding day of the league on Saturday, Muscat CT were not in action and sat back with a healthy net run-rate (NRR) to their credit and watched the runner-up being decided with Al Turki NMC claiming the honours with a facile win over Renaissance CT. 

Muscat CT, one of the oldest teams in the top division, failed to end their campaign on a high as they lost to IT Works on Friday but  ended with the title, on the basis of a better NRR (+2.29). Al Turki’s five-wicket victory, courtesy a brilliant unbeaten 146 by Khalid Kail, saw them take the second spot with a NRR of (+1.41). IT Works with a NRR of + 1.36 finished a close third. All the three teams had eight wins and two losses after completing their league engagements of ten matches in the six-team league. 

Speaking to Muscat Daily  on Saturday after winning the title, Muscat’s long-serving manager Wilson Burboz said, “Absolutely delighted to have won the league after a long time. I am happy the way the team played throughout the season despite the challenges we faced for arranging training schedules due to the coronavirus restrictions. 

“We have had a good mix of players with some talented youngsters drafted to our squad in the past few seasons. And shepherding them were senior players and national team stars like skipper Jatinder Singh, Sandeep Goud, Naseem Khushi and Syed Amir Kaleem. It was a winning combination.” 

Burboz said that the team’s focus over the years have been on ‘sportsmanship and discipline’ and it was nice to watch the youngsters deliver the goods’. 

Burboz expressed his deep appreciation to his coaches, Hemal Mehta and Nilesh Parmar, team management and the employers, Khimji Ramdas, for their encouragement and trust in the team. 

The team’s mentor, Madhu Jesrani, who is also Oman Cricket secretary, expressed happiness at the team’s success after eight years. In his remarks, Jesrani said, “We are very happy for the title, which we have won after eight years. It is a perfect tribute to our team’s patron late Kanakbhai Khimji [former Oman Cricket chairman], who passed away recently. 

“It is a present from the boys to the team owners, Khimji Ramdas Group.” 

On the pitch on Saturday, it was Al Turki’s Kail who shone with bat as he hammered an unbeaten 146 to outplay Renaissance. This was the third century by Kail, who had earlier struck 157, the highest score in the top-flight league this season. Following the conclusion of the league, Kail emerged as the highest scorer with 526 (average 75.1) from nine matches as he missed one game due to injury. 

In bowling, four bowlers- Shakeel Ahmed, Muhammed Nadeem, Khawar Ali (all three from IT Works) and Sandeep Goud (Muscat) – shared the honours of maximum wickets as all four took 20 wickets each. 

Earlier on Friday, Zeeshan Maqsood’s century and Shakeel Ahmad’s five for 25 guided IT Works to a 30-run win over Muscat CT. 

Brief scores:  

Saturday: Renaissance CT 238-8 in 50 overs (Shubo Pal 71, Rafi Ullah 52; Jay Odedara 3-39, Hemalkumar Tandel 2-35) lost to Al Turki 235-5 in 38.4 overs (Kail 142 n.o. Ajay Lalcheta 29; Rafi Ullah 2-34). 

Friday: IT Works 246 in 49.5 overs (Zeeshan Maqsood 116, Khawar Ali 29, Akmal Shahzad 29; Sandeep Goud 4-37, Ayaan Khan 2-37, Ganesh Chandrashekher 2-41) beat Muscat CT 216 all out in 44.4 overs (Ayaan Khan 71, Wasim Ali 44; Shakeel 5-25,  
Maqsood 2-14). 

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