RAWALPINDI - Masood Anwar Cricket Academy (MACA) became crowned champions of the 1st Buxly T20 Inter-Academies Cricket Championship, after hammering Panther Cricket Club (CC) by 38 runs in the final played here at Jammia High School Floodlight Stadium on Friday night.

A total of six academies including Panther, DCC, Star, West Indies, Babar and Masood Anwar participated in the seven-day championship. Majority of the matches were played under floodlights. Renowned political and social figure Pirzada Rahat Masood Qudusi was the chief guest at the final.

MACA skipper Gul Khan won the toss and opted to bat first. MACA kept on losing wickets at regular intervals, despite maintaining a very healthy run rate, due to superb batting by man-of-the-final Asif Ali, who hammered 37-ball 42, which helped MACA post 138-7 on the board in the allotted overs. Atif bagged 2-26 for Panther CC.

Panther started their run-chase in the worst possible manner, as they lost first 4 wickets with only 12 runs on the board. Man of the tournament Muqadam ripped through Panther top order grabbing 3-12 in 4 overs. Hamza made 23 and Yasir 21, but it was not enough to save Panther from 38-run defeat.

Earlier in the semifinals, MACA thrashed West Indies Cricket Academy (WICA) by 61 runs. Batting first, MACA were bundled out for 103 runs with Tauseef scoring 47. Haris took 4-21 and Iftikhar 2-22. In reply, WICA were bundled out for 42. Skipper Gul Khan captured 3-10 and Khalid 2-19. In the second semifinal, Panther defeated DCC by 4 wickets. Batting first DCC were all out for 105 and in reply, Panther achieved the target in 19.1 overs losing six wickets with Ijaz slamming 50.

Talking to The Nation, former international cricketer Masood Anwar said the event was played on experimental basis and he wasn’t expecting such an overwhelming response from the academies and crowd. “It was amazing to witness pack-to-capacity stadium. I want to say a big thanks to Buxly, former MNA and godfather of Rawalpindi Hanif Abbasi, MPA Raja Hanif, Pirzada Rahat Masood Qudusi, Sanober Gul, MACA in-charge nets Ustad Aziz alias Jija and others for their significant contributions in making the event a success.

“Without Hanif Abbasi, we could not even think about hosting the event, as Rawalpindi was well-short of even ordinary cricket grounds. Hanif Abbasi deserves all credit for providing to Pindi youth four international-standard cricket grounds, equipped with all modern-day facilities including floodlights, dressing rooms, pavilion and sitting capacity. On the other hand, Pindi Stadium is not available for clubs, as it is long occupied by so-called cricket mafia, who are not ready to allow genuine talent showcase their skills and only allow their blue-eyed clubs to utilize the facilities. I request Punjab CM and PCB to look into the sorry state of affairs of Rawalpindi Region and provide justice to the players of the region,” he added.

Sharing his views, Rirzada Rahat lauded the efforts of Masood Anwar and paid rich tributes to Hanif Abbasi for pleading youth case with Punjab CM so affectively and ensuring series of play grounds for youth. He announced to conduct a top level event next month. “We have conducted two Union Council level tournaments and distributed cash prizes of Rs 1.5 million.”

“Being the pioneer of private colleges in the city, Rahat also announced to conduct college level cricket championship by the year end. As a worker of the present government, it is my duty to ensure youth of the city involved in healthy sporting activities, as our leader Nawaz Sharif is a sportsman and a keen sports lover. The day is not far, when Rawalpindi will produce a number of quality athletes in every sport,” Rahat concluded.