The Zahid Premier League (ZPL) has successfully completed its third season of cricket, which began with an opening ceremony facilitated by Dr. Zico at the WPCA grounds. The tournament, held over an 11-week period, had outstanding performances by the 10 participating teams.
This year, the suspense continued throughout the season, with F&A United, ALTAAQA, the CVD Riders, and the Wared Warriors advancing as the final four. Batting first in the semifinals were the CVD Riders, who scored 105 runs in 14 overs against F&A United, who, in turn, scored 106 in 12 overs.
The closest match was between ALTAAQA and the Wared Warriors, and it was the very last ball that determined the win. Batting first, ALTAAQA won by 1 run, with a total score of 131, advancing to the final round against F&A United.
The final began with ALTAAQA losing early wickets, but their middle order helped them reach a defendable score of 115 in their allotted 14 overs. Contributions came from Sarmad with 24 runs, and a breezy knock from the ALTAAQA skipper, Wasim. However, it was the good fielding and accurate bowling by all F&A United bowlers, including Hammad, Imran, Nadeem, Hafeez and Baber, that hindered ALTAAQA’s total score.
F&A United, last year’s defending champion, was quick to respond. Hafeez used his long handle to send the bowlers of ALTAAQA around the field, finishing with 40 runs in addition to his bowling effort of 1 wicket for 22 runs, thus enabling F&A United to win the final for the second year in a row.
Following the match was the prize distribution ceremony, held at La Sani Restaurant. Beginning with the recitation of the Holy Qur’an by Osman Kashif, Wasim gave the opening remarks, and was followed by presentations from Dr. Zico, Ghazanfar, Zia Ur Rehman, Edward Collis, Tariq Wardani, and Majd Hussein.
Awards were distributed for Man of the Match (leagues, semifinals and final), Best Batsman, Best Bowler, and Maximum Sixes, with mementos to umpires and committee members, including Amr M. Khashoggi, Dr. Zico, Zia Ur Rehman, and Ghazanfar. Specifically taking awards were Imran Mehmoud and Nadeem Ahmed, both from F&A United, for top scorer and wicket taker, respectively. Also, Hafeez Kiani from F&A United was declared the best all-rounder of the tournament, and Syed Azam Jalees was the best umpire.
Samiruddin, ZPL president, thanked the Zahid family and Zahid management especially Khashoggi, who has been supporting ZPL for the past three years. Samiruddin also thanked the umpires and committee members for their efforts in making the third season a grand success.
To conclude the ceremony, Dr. Zico assured the support of the management in future events and also commended the hard work done by Samiruddin and committee members together with the team for conducting ZPL III successfully.