Creditwest ALL Cyprus Cricket Final and Mission Impossible Two
Last Sunday 2nd April, at the Çatalköy Stadium, the TRNC fans watching the game from the Lodge Pub, with drinks in hand were saying “surely it’s impossible that the North could triumph again” as the Gentlemen of Girne, winners of the Creditwest North Cyprus Cricket League did battle against the South Cyprus League’s winners, the Sri Lankan C.C. in the Creditwest All Cyprus Cricket Cup Final.
TRNC Association President Nigel Holman told us before the start, unexpectedly last year the North’s Cyprus Legends beat the experienced Greek side the Mustangs and for another success this time seemed unlikely. After all, the Sri Lankan team had walked away with the very strong South’s League’s title, without losing a game.
With the Gentlemen winning the toss and choosing to field on what promised to be a difficult pitch early on, TRNC Association’s Chairman Danish Shah Afridi added it’s never easy for the South teams playing at our grounds and together with the local sides talented new players it could tip the balance in the North’s favour.
A break through in the first over saw the variable pace of Sadjad Kamal catch Sugalh leg before wicket for a duck. With Waheed Nawab bowling a very tight line from the other end, the North slowly put the squeeze on. The Sri Lankans knew they had to accelerate, which outstanding 1st change bowler Adeel Mansha took full advantage of with two quick wickets reducing the visitors to 18 for 3. Immediately the crowd sensed the 2nd Mansha wicket, an outstanding catch by Danish Afridi at mid-on, dismissing the destructive batsman Captain Mangola for only 4, possibly being a game changer. The visitors tried to dig themselves out of the hole, but the introduction of Shahzad Malik caused havoc, with five batsman succumbing to his accurate slow left armers, returning figure’s of 18 for 5. Supported by one wicket apiece from Janwali Khan and Mansha the tail was wrapped up for a very low 79 runs, around 50 short of par for the conditions.
Clearly in control of the game, Gentlemen of Girne’s openers Danish Afridi and Janwali Khan strode to the middle. Following a quiet first 2 overs with 3 runs scored, mayhem struck. Janwali Khan, Bilal Afridi, Adeel Mansha and Muhammad Waqas all out without troubling the scorers, leaving the home side at 9 for 4 and staring defeat in the face. Afridi dug deep with a true captain’s innings before holing out to Nilin off Susantha for 26 and with Ather.
Mir 33 not out, hitting 4 fours and a six in a partnership of 50 the North’s ceased control of the match again. What should then have been a comfortable stroll to victory once again turned into a roller-coaster ride, as next man in Wajid Khan joined many of his team mates on a duck. However, Arif Khan together with the excellent Mir steered the Gentlemen of Girne to a memorable victory.
Creditwest manager Figen Kaymak presented the individual best player trophies to Danish Afridi for batting and Shahzad Malik for bowling. She said she was thrilled the Creditwest All Cyprus Cricket Cup had stayed in the North of the island for a second year in a row.