Oxford Marine win Challengers Gold Cup
Oxford Marine, BPN and IM Galadari were the title winners on finals night in the Challengers Cup at the state-of-the-art facilities of the ICC Academy at Dubai Sports City.
Oxford Marine overcame the Knight Riders in the Grand Final of the Gold section, BPN sprang a surprise by beating the hitherto unbeaten Al Futtaim Logistics in the Silver final and, in the Bronze title battle, IM Galadari got past Crystal Gallery – but only just.
The three matches ended a tournament that began with 27 teams across the three sections. With more than AED10,000 in prize monies, it was a rewarding evening for all the sides that made it through to the finals.
Oxford Marine claimed the Gold section honours thanks to a commanding performance, first with the bat and then with the ball and in the field.
With Praveen scoring 19, Badi 17 and Ojas 12, the Marines racked up a final score of 76, losing just two wickets in the process.
Oxford Marine’s score did look within reach for the Knight Riders, at least initially, as the first three overs of the 12 in its innings yielded 15 runs. But after that it was downhill all the way as the Oxford Marine bowlers and fielders assumed control.
The Knight Riders batsmen lost their way completely, lost a total of nine wickets and lost the match by finishing with a final score of 22 to hand victory to Oxford Marine by 54 runs.
Shanil of SFS, the side that, out of the three within the Gold section, did not reach the Grand Final, was named as Gold player of the tournament.
BPN’s win in the Silver final was a shock as Al Futtaim Logistics had looked unbeatable leading into the ultimate match, but the contest hinged on the latter side making a disastrous start in pursuit of its target.
After BPN had scored 68, Al Futtaim lost four early wickets and by the halfway point of the innings had reached just 16. And although its batsmen rallied in the second half of the innings, it was not enough to recover from that early trouble and a final score of 51 meant a BPN win by 17 runs.
The Bronze final was the closest encounter of the three and produced a last-over thriller before IM Galadari took the honours.
Crystal Gallery, batting first, got off to the worst possible start, losing two wickets to the first three balls of the action and a total of eight wickets during its innings.
It meant a final score of just 43 but, by bowling and fielding like tigers, the Crystal Gallery players almost pulled off a miracle.
Player of the match Nabeel who had earlier scored 10 for Crystal Gallery, picked up two wickets in the final over and amid almost unbearable tension Hasan of IM Galadari had to survive the final two balls of the match to ensure his side took the title.
He did, and that was the cue for IM Galadari to breath a sigh of relief and celebrate its success.
Crystal Gallery at least had the consolation that one of its players, Zafar, was handed the award for player of the tournament in the Bronze section.