ISLAMABAD -Islamabad Cricket Association (ICA) Central Zone won the first-ever PCB Inter-District (Islamabad Region) U-19 Championship by outclassing all other zones/districts following a competitive cricket.

Although one more round is still left in the championship, ICA Central Zone has already lifted the championship, held for the first-time under the auspices of the PCB in the history of Federal Capital by dividing it into four zones, by securing 21 points in four innings.

Led by young M Umair, the Central Zone defeated East Zone and Gilgit-Baltistan and secured full points while its other two matches were drawn. Head coach Islamabad Region Taimoor Azam was handling the team with a professional touch. Nasir Iqbal headed Central Zone. It was for the first time that PCB divided Islamabad into four zones where elections were held last month to elect their office-bearers with Islamabad Cricket Association (ICA) being the district cricket association on top of these zones.

In its last game concluded on Friday at Diamond Ground, Central Zone outclassed Gilgit-Baltistan by an innings and 78 runs with skipper M Umair had a six-wicket haul for 28 runs. Left-arm spinner Asjad Nawaz claimed nine wickets in the match. After getting Gilgit-Baltistan out for 121 in the first innings, the Central Zone piled up 274-6 in 51 overs with Ishfaq Ali (58) and Zeehan Naeem (50*) batted well. Asjad Nawaz took seven wickets in the first innings and proved to be the best bowler of the tournament. Gilgit-Baltistan were all out for paltry 75 in the second innings as M Umair claimed 6-28. In a cliff-hanging game played here at National Cricket Ground, West Zone’s hard attempt to win the match was thwarted by some quality bowling by East Zone’s slow bowlers.

Needing 86 to win in mandatory 13 overs of the last hour of the match, West Zone failed to hit the target as it lost nine wickets at 79 runs. East Zone bounced back and was very close to upset West Zone when on the last ball, it needed only one wicket while West Zone required eight runs to win on the last ball.

West Zone hit 203-8 in 41.5 overs but faulted in the second innings when it got out for 79 in their chase for 86 to win. Left-arm spinner Naeem Shahzad bowled extremely well in a tense movement to stop West Zone winning the game. He claimed 5-23. Another left-arm slow bowler Usman Ali had 3-22. After being followed on, East Zone managed 198 in the second innings. Off-spinner Abrar Khan took 6-52, Hussain Ahmed made unbeaten 52 while Hamza Zaman added 45. In the first innings, medium pacer Ali Raza managed seven wickets for only six runs.