Qatar clinch first major cricket trophy and get ICC promotion
02 May 2017 - 10:49
By Fawad Hussain / The Peninsula
Qatar yesterday got a huge breakthrough in their bid to become a major cricketing nation when they won the seven-nation International Cricket Council’s (ICC) World Cricket League Asia Division 1 event in Thailand with a brave run chase in their final match.
The maiden ICC trophy for Qatar came after an impressive run of form by Al Anabi, who won five of their six matches at the ICC-sanctioned tournament.
The title-triumph - which came after Qatar beat Saudi Arabia by five wickets yesterday - also gave the men in maroon a promotion to ICC Division 5.
Despite their dominating show in the 12-day event, Qatar faced an uphill task against other title contenders Saudi Arabia in their last match, needing a huge victory against them to attain a better net run-rate yesterday.
The Saudis, who survived a scare against hosts Thailand in their previous game winning it by just one wicket, showed nerves in the crunch tie and were bowled out for just 94 in 43.3 overs after opting to bat against Qatar.
Al Anabi captain Inam Ul Haq and Mohammed Nadeem claimed three wickets each while Awais Malik and Mohammed Tanveer secured a pair of wickets apiece to demolish the Saudi batting line-up.
We made a lot of preparations for this tournament and our only target was to clinch the title. All the players showed attitude and tried to play their part throughout the tournament: Qatar Captain Inam Ul Haq
Mohsin Shabbir (23), Mohammad Afzal (22) and Inayat Saeed (17) were the notable scorers for Saudi Arabia.
Needing the victory in only 23 overs to overcome the Saudis on basis of net run-rate for the title, Qatar lost their top order soon in search of quick runs and were reeling on 4-24 at one stage before Tamoor Sajjad and Zaheer Ibrahim launched the rescue mission.
Sajjad, the Man-of-the-Match, guided his team to victory in 18.1 overs after scoring a gallant 28 from 26 deliveries under pressure.
Ibrahim lost his wicket after smashing 25 but his contribution proved enough to lend Qatar their first major cricket trophy, with five-wicket victory over Saudi Arabia.
“It’s the happiest day of our lives as our constant struggle finally paid dividend,” Qatar captain Inam told The Peninsula from Chiang Mai.
“We did a lot of preparations for this tournament and our only target was to clinch the title. All the players showed attitude and tried to play their part throughout the tournament.
“It’s purely a team effort and if we continue to play like this then I am sure this win will follow more triumphs in the future,” added the seasoned all-rounder.
Qatar defeated Kuwait by 214 runs in their opening game of the tournament and also registered victories against Bhutan (60) and Thailand (60) in their next two matches.
They were heading the points table but an upset against Bahrain (by 52 runs) put Saudi Arabia ahead in the title-race.
The best part of our campaign was that we didn’t lose hope after an upset against Bahrain. We kept believing that we can win the title and eventually we made it happen: Vice-Captain Mohammed Rizlan
However, their next two wins against China (by 265 runs) and Saudi Arabia (by 5 wickets) followed the triumph.
“It was a very tough competition for the title between us and Saudi Arabia, throughout the event,” Qatar vice-captain Mohammed Rizlan told The Peninsula.
“The best part of our campaign was that we didn’t lose hope after an upset against Bahrain. We kept believing that we can win the title and eventually we made it happen,” added Rizlan who was adjudged the Best-Wicket-keeper-of-the-Tournament.
“This title has given us a lot of confidence and motivation to do well in the future tournaments,” he said.
This title is a huge step towards becoming a good side in international cricket. I’d say Qatar would not stop here and will keep striving to advance at international stage: Senior QRHCF official Manzoor Ahmed
Qatar, after being promoted to Division 5, will now head to South Africa in September where they will be up against teams including Italy, Guernsey, Jersey, Vanuatu, Cayman Islands and Ghana while a team from Europe is yet to be determined.
“This title is a huge step towards becoming a good side in international cricket,” said the Qatar Rugby, Hockey and Cricket Federation’s (QRHCF) senior official Manzoor Ahmed, who is accompanying the team.
“I’d say Qatar would not stop here and will keep striving to advance at international stage. I would also like to thank QRHCF President Youssef Jaham Al Kuwari for his backing of the national cricket team.
“This team has the potential of becoming a good cricket side,” Ahmed said.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabi who also earned 10 points from five wins had to be content with second position while Bahrain finished third with 8 points.
Road to historical title- triumph
Qatar beat Kuwait by 150 runs
Qatar beat Bhutan by 214 runs
Qatar beat Thailand by 60 runs
Qatar lost to Bahrain by 52 runs
Qatar beat China by 265 runs
Qatar beat Saudi Arabia by 5 wickets
What’s next for Qatar
Qatar will play Division 5 tournament in September in South Africa.
Italy, Guernsey, Jersey, Vanuatu, Cayman Islands and Ghana along with another European side will feature in the tournament.
The winning side will be promoted to Division 4.