Creditwest ALL Cyprus Cricket Final
TRNC tethers the Mustangs
The South’s all conquering Mustangs were surprisingly broken by the North’s underdogs, the Lefkoşa Legends, in the battle to be crowned the first Creditwest ALL CYPRUS Cup winners and be recognised as the best cricket side in the whole of Cyprus.
TRNC Cricket chairman Nigel Holman previously told us, all 9 teams in North Cyprus are new and would have little chance against the experience of the Mustangs, who have dominated the South, winning most of their tournaments during the past few years. He explained, the Lefkoşa Legends’ only chance was to win the toss and ask their guests to bat first on the plastic artificial pitch, which has a low bounce when first laid in the morning and would be unfamiliar to them.
The home fans groaned when Legend’s captain Nisar lost the toss. In went Aun and Bilal with clear instructions to play straight off the front foot ringing in their ears, to attempt the huge task of building a defendable total against a team comprising several internationals. Those supporters who had played a lot thought the team would be lucky to get 100 and the pace of Bimal Ranabhat soon undid Aun. However, despite the efforts of bowlers Bimal Ranabhat 4 for 19 and Khial Muhammad 4 for 22, the Lefkoşa Legends were made of sterner stuff resisting for 29 of the 30 overs. With contributions of 49 from Bilal, 18 Osama and 22 by Shazzad, the low but not disastrous score predicted earlier by Association’s optimistic Treasurer, Paula Shirley, of 129 was achieved.
Being crowned the first Creditwest ALL CYPRUS champions seemed well within the Mustangs reach. Needing only 130 at a mere 4.33/over, the Legends’ only hope was to bowl them out.
The talented Bimal Ranabhat put on 31 displaying a range of quality shots as did Khial Muhammad 44, finding the pitch was no problem. However, as it turned out, none of the other batsmen seemed to agree, with no one really getting in and wickets falling steadily. At 51 for 3 after 12 overs and knowing the visitors batted all the way down their order, the Mustangs looked to be in control, but 5 overs later they were 8 down as the slow spin of man of the match, Sharzad 14 for 5 and Imran-Ali 39 for 2 ripped into them. Khial Muhamma fought hard to shepherd the tail, but when he became yet another Sharzad victim, all resistance ceased with the Southerners being dismissed for only 113 in the 24th over.
Afterwards, umpire George Ward wondered if the Mustang’s problem had been more in the batsmen’s heads when confronted by a playing surface they hadn’t seen before. Rather than any problem with the way it had played, which he felt had been good with a decent even bounce.
Figen Kaymak said, whilst presenting with Mazher Bey the impressive Creditwest ALL CYPRUS cup, how honoured Creditwest are to be involved with cricket and look forward to being part of its growth on our island.
Figan Kaymak from Creditwest with the Lefkoşa Legends and the Mustangs and Mazher Bey