RIYADH, 15 October 2004 — Indian International School Riyadh and Al-Momin International School emerged the Under-17 and Under-15 champions respectively in the Arab News Junior Cricket Cup finals organized by the Riyadh Cricket Association (RCA) yesterday. While IISR recorded a 24 runs victory over Al Jawahir International School in the senior category, Momim quelled the spirited challenge of Sri Lankan International School, gaining a 17 runs win in the junior event.
Two plate finals were also set with Sri Lankan International School taking the U-17 event with a 158-run rout of Manarat Al Riyadh and the Middle East International School topping the U-15 event after gaining a walkover from the Indian Embassy School.
Fourteen schools and 214 students took part in the six-week tournament. The finals of the tournament were attended by the principals of the participating schools, parents and well-wishers. The Sri Lankan Ambassador Ibrahim Sahib Ansar was guest of honor at the function while Arab News Riyadh Bureau Chief Raid Qusti was the chief guest at the awards ceremony.
Pakistan cricket legend Imran Khan also met the participants during the finals and encouraged the students to play with a spirit of sportsmanship.
The day provided high drama in the U-17 events. The finals saw IISR paced to 171 for eight in their allotted overs by Soumiya and Lohit, the man of the match. After a stuttering start Soumiya (50) and Lohit (42) blazed away to bolster the IISR tally. Omer Akhter and Zeeshan, with four and two wickets each, managed to restrict IISR.
Though Hasan Javed, with a sedate 54, and Abdul Wahab’s quick 26 raised Al Jawahir’s hopes briefly, the fall of wickets at regular intervals put paid to their hopes as they were shot out for 147.
The plate final in this category was a one-sided affair as SLIS racked up 208 for no loss. Ahsan, who was named man of the match cracked an unbeaten 106 and Nilanka was undefeated on 71. Then Sameer (six wickets) and Buddhi (two) skittled Manarat for just 50.
The U-15 final saw AMIS total 145 for four in their allotted overs with Rizwan topscoring with 63. Jehangir (17) and Abuzar (11) were the other contributors with a late flurry coming from Salman (9 n.o.) and Hassa (7 n.o.).
SLIS lost their first wicket without a run on the board and though Arshad (56) and Shraf (28) provided a platform for the chase a spate of run outs left them short. Shanawaz (16) and Prabadha (10) also contributed.
SLIS’ Arshad’s fine 59 and his opening stand of 70 runs with Amri 25 could not save their team from defeat against AMIS. Shahnawaz 27 n.o. was the other notable scorer as SLIS were restricted to 135 for 3. Earlier batting first AMIS scored 142 for 7. Jahangir 41, Yasir 34 n.o., Obaidullah 17 and Salman 14 were the prominent scorers for AMIS. Jahangir was adjudged man of the match.
In the semifinals, Hassan Javed and Adeel guided Al Jawahir International to an easy seven-wicket victory over Sri Lankan International School (SLIS) in the U-17 match while Arshad’s batting could not save Sri Lankan International School (SLIS) from a narrow seven-run defeat against Al-Momin International School (AMIS) in the U-15 match.
SLIS were boosted by Buddhi 30 and Omar 48 n.o. in their 80 runs partnership as they reached 154 for 5. In reply, man of the match Hassan Javed’s unbeaten 49 and Adeel’s brisk 55 saw Al Jawahir romp home in their seven-wicket win.
At the awards ceremony Qusti said: “Sports brings people together without any political differences.” He added that Arab News has been instrumental in promoting cricket in the Kingdom by organizing tournaments of this nature. He also praised the organizers, the Riyadh Cricket Association, for taking tremendous efforts to make the event a success.
In his speech, RCA President Abdul Qadeer Mirza lauded Arab News Editor in Chief Khaled Almaeena’s efforts in promoting sports and cricket in particular in the Kingdom.
“Almaeena has been a mentor and adviser to the RCA and his efforts are appreciated by the expatriate community for promoting cricket in this part of the world. He also pointed out that the RCA has plans to invite Saudi schools to play in future cricket tournaments.
While thanking Arab News and the RCA for giving the expatriate students to play their favorite sport of cricket in the Kingdom, Ambassador Ansar pointed out that sports transcends all other events. The envoy commended the efforts of the organizers for bringing all expatriate communities under one umbrella for their well being in the Kingdom.
In an another function, Imran, the cricketer-turned-politician and the head of the Tehreek-i-Insaaf party, said he was happy that Saudi Arabia would be holding the first international cricket tournament in Jeddah on Nov. 23.
He described it as a big achievement for “making cricket a success in the desert. This shows your absolute commitment to, and a great deal of enthusiasm in, the sport.”
Imran was speaking as a guest of honor at the annual prize distribution ceremony on Tuesday night. Big. Gen. Prince Abdul Aziz ibn Nasser ibn Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, patron-in-chief of RCA, Mirza, president of RCA, and Dr. Tariq Javed, senior adviser at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, were those present.
Speaking about the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust Cancer Hospital, which he launched with the financial support of Pakistani expatriates in the Kingdom, among others, Imran lauded Dr. Tariq Javed of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) and Mirza, president of RCA, for their role in raising funds for his hospital. A fund-raising dinner was also organized on Wednesday night.
“Thanks to the support of the Pakistani community and the generosity of some Saudis and other friends we are able to raise substantial funds that were needed to tide over the deficit due to the fact that 70 percent of the deserving patients are treated free of charge,” Imran said amid cheers.
He added that the hospital, now in its tenth year, has landed a prestigious award from the World Health Organization (WHO) for services to humanity.
The international match is to be held at the General Presidency of Youth Welfare Stadium in Jeddah. The tournament will be between ACC-11 versus GCC-11. The Asia-11 team will be drawn from cricketers of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Sir Vivian Richards of the West Indies and Ian Chappell of Australia have also been invited.
— With additional input from Syed Taqiuddin