The Afghans walked away with the Ramazan festival T20 tournament title after beating the Pakistanis by 61 runs. The Afghans comfortably beat the AO Blues , including international players such as Rana Naved-ul Hassan, Imran Nazir and Rizwan Ahmed, last night amidst great jubilation by their supporters at the overflowing Asghar Ali Shah stadium. A.O Blues Cricket Club is Dr. Shah’s team, the organizer of the tournament.
The atmosphere at the stadium was electric as a crowd of 20,000 packed the stadium while thousands waited outside to get in and resorted to heavy aerial firing.
As soon as the last wicket fell, the Afghans at the stadium rushed onto the ground with their national flags waving and firing in jubilation as they picked up the players in celebration.
Asghar Stanikzai and Hamid Hasan two rising young stars of the Afghan national team played a stellar role in the victory with the former scoring 43 runs and Hasan taking three wickets.
AYCA received a Suzuki Alto as the prize for their strugle and A.O Blues were given a Suzuki Mehran.
Hamid Hassan was selected as the best bolwer of the tournament for which he was awarded with a motorcycle and a mobile phone from Lephone.
Mohammad Shahzad the Dhoni of Kabul was named man of the tournament and received a motorcycle, mobile phone, as well a trophy for his performance through the tournament. Shahzad managed 59 runs (including 6 boundaries and a six) from 41 deliveries in the final, 15 of the runs came from Rana Naveed-Ul Hassan's first over.
"We were shocked at the support we had in this tournament and for the final there was no way we were going to let our people down," Hasan said.
The allrounder said that the way the Afghans living in Karachi had turned out for the tournament showed just how much interest the Afghan people had in cricket.
"I think this final is proof enough that Afghanistan cricket needs to be given respect by other cricket playing nations and they should give us more matches," Stanikzai said.
Abdullah Noor, who was forced to seek refuge in Pakistan after the Soviet invasion came to Karachi in the 1980s and works as a cloth merchant, said cricket had been a big unifying force.
"When our cricketers play anywhere in the world, Afghans, whether they are refugee or immigrants are united. After soccer cricket is our new passion," he said flanked by his children.
Scores in brief
AYCA vs A.O Blues at Asghar Ali Stadium.
|AYCA Won by 61 wickets
Man of the match: M. Shahzad