The Zahid Premier League (ZPL) concluded another successful season of cricket after 11 weeks of matches, naming the Altaaqa Tigers as this year’s champion.
Since ZPL began in 2011, Zahid Group management has been a proud sponsor of the league, recognizing the importance of cricket and competitive spirit in the lives of employees. The league was originally established to promote the values of cricket as it relates to the Group’s shared values of integrity, professionalism, competence, respect and tolerance, trust, pride, and commitment to excellence. Throughout the years, ZPL has not only emphasized what Zahid Group stands for; it has also nourished friendships among departments and colleagues.
This year, ten teams competed for the Tournament Cup, and while they all played well, it was ZG United who was recognized as having the highest team score in ZPL’s five seasons with a record 225 runs in 12 overs against AJIL in their first league match.
In the first semi final, ZG United faced the AVI Strikers, and AVI was victorious by 8 wickets. ZG United scored 95 for 6 in their allotted 12 overs, but AVI chased the scores in 10.1 overs with major contributions from Samer Ifterkar with 30 runs and Mubashir Nazir with 24 runs.
In the other semi final, the Altaaqa Tigers stopped the winning streak of last year’s defending champions, F&A United, by first scoring 132 for 4 in their allotted 12 overs with Mohammed Asad as the main contributor with 43. Altaaqa restricted F&A to 105 for 4 in 12 overs, thus winning by a margin of 27 runs. There were great performances by Altaaqa bowler, Faizan Ahmed, who took 2 wickets, Zafar Iqbal, Ahmed Butt and Mohammed Waseem.
The final was a close match, and after 3 years of attempting the victory, the Altaaqa Tigers beat the AVI Strikers by 9 runs. Altaaqa batted first and managed to score 119 for 6 in the allotted 12 overs with major contributors being Imran Shahid with 31 and Kamran Shahzad with 20 runs, while the third major contribution came from Extras with 31. Majid Raza, Syed Atif and Mohsin Raza took a wicket each. AVI was in the race until Samer Iftekar was at the crease, though his departure after scoring a valuable 55 marked the end of AVI’s fight. Mohammed Faheem, Faizan Ahmed, Zafar Iqbal, and Mohammed Waseem did an exceptional job, but it was Ahmed Butt who really changed the match in Altaaqa’s favor with his spell of 2 overs in which he conceded 8 runs and took the important wicket from Samer Iftekar, earning him the man of the match title.
The prize distribution ceremony was held at La Sani Restaurant, and was attended by ZPL patrons Vice President Group Affairs Mr. Amr Khashoggi; Managing Director of Altaaqa, Mr. Emad Mukhalalaty; Director of Operations of Altaaqa, Mr. Marwan Azraq; Corporate Consultant, Dr. Z.K. Raychouni (Dr. Zico); General Manager of AVI, Mr. Herve Simonin; and other senior management and managers such as Mr. Ghazanfar Ali, Mr. Eyad El Sharif and Mr. Iftekar Khan. Family members of the players, who supported ZPL throughout the entire season, also attended the event.
After a recitation of the Quran by Yahya Sadiq, Mr. Amr Khashoggi and Dr. Zico delivered encouraging speeches that not only highlighted Zahid Group’s appreciation for ZPL’s efforts but also assured continued support in the future.
Awards were then given to the teams, umpires and committee members for individual performances. Mr. Ahmed Butt (Altaaqa) received Man of the Final; Mr. Samer (AVI) received Best All-Rounder; Mr. Moiz Mulla (ZG United) received Best Batsman, Maximum Sixes, and Centurion; Mr. Faizan Ahmed (Altaaqa) received Best Bowler; Mr. Nadeem Ahmed (F&A) and Mr. Hafeez Kaini (F&A) received Hat-Tricks; Zahid Travel Group received Fair Play; and Mr. Abdul Rafey and Mr. Syed Anwarullah received Best Umpires. In addition, the committee members and umpires were also presented with plaques as appreciation from the Group.
Mr. Amr Khashoggi presented the runner up award to the AVI Strikers and the champion award to the Altaaqa Tigers.
In his closing remarks, ZPL President, Mr. Samiruddin, thanked Zahid Group management, the umpiring panel, the captains, players, guests and family members, and all those who contributed to the success of the 5th ZPL tournament, especially his committee members, Mr. Altaf Hussain, Mr. Hammad Ahmed, Mr. Kumar Krishnan, Mr. Faisal L Khan, Mr. Mohammed Kashif, Mr. Imran sher Khan, Mr. Mirza Moin Baig, Mr. Syed Faisal Raza, and Mr. Nadeem Ahmed.
ZPL looks forward to another successful season next year.