JEDDAH — The Zahid Premier League (ZPL) concluded another successful season of cricket with Altaaqa Tigers clinching the trophy after 11 weeks of very competitive matches.
Zahid Group management has been encouraging and supporting the championship since its inception in 2011, recognizing the importance of cricket and competitive spirit in the lives of employees.
ZPL was established to promote the values of cricket as it relates to the group’s shared values of integrity, professionalism, competence and commitment to excellence.
All these years, ZPL has helped nourish friendship among colleagues and departments. Ten teams competed for the honors this year.
While teams played well, it was ZG United which set the highest team score in ZPL’s five seasons with a record 225 runs in 12 overs against AJIL in their first league match.
In a thrilling final, after 3 years of intense fighting for honors, Altaaqa Tigers beat the AVI Strikers by 9 runs to claim the trophy.
Altaaqa batted first and posted 119 for 6 in the allotted 12 overs with major contributions coming from Imran Shahid (31) and Kamran Shahzad (20).
The Tigers were also lucky with a whopping 31 extras. Majid Raza, Syed Atif and Mohsin Raza took one wicket each.
AVI was in the race until Samer Iftekar was at the crease. His departure after scoring a valuable 55 was a killer punch.
Mohammed Faheem, Faizan Ahmed, Zafar Iqbal and Mohammed Waseem fought in vain. It was Ahmed Butt who turned the match in Altaaqa’s favor with his 2-over spell in which he conceded 8 runs and took the important wicket of Samer Iftekar. It won him the Man of the Match award.
In the first semifinal, AVI Strikers defeated ZG United by 8 wickets. ZG United scored 95 for 6, but AVI chased the scores in 10.1 overs as Samer Iftekar hit 30 and Mubashir Nazir 24.
In the other semis, Altaaqa Tigers ended the winning streak of defending champion F&A United. The winner tallied 132 for 4 with Mohammed Asad topscoring with 43.
Altaaqa then restricted F&A to 105 for 4 to win the match 27 runs. Altaaqa bowler Faizan Ahmed took 2 wickets, while Zafar Iqbal, Ahmed Butt and Mohammed Waseem bowled very well.
The prize distribution ceremony was attended by ZPL patrons Amr Khashoggi, vice president, group affairs; Emad Mukhalalaty, managing director of Altaaqa; Marwan Azraq, director of operations of Altaaqa; Dr. Z.K. Raychouni (Dr. Zico), corporate consultant; Herve Simonin, general manager of AVI; and other senior managers including Ghazanfar Ali, Eyad El Sharif and Iftekar Khan. Family members of the players, who supported ZPL throughout the entire season, also attended the event.
After a recitation from the Holy Quran by Yahya Sadiq, Amr Khashoggi and Dr. Zico delivered encouraging speeches and also assured continued support in the future.
Awards were then given to teams, umpires and committee members for individual performances. Ahmed Butt (Altaaqa) — Man of the Final; Samer (AVI) — Best All-Rounder; Moiz Mulla (ZG United) — Best Batsman, Maximum Sixes, and Centurion; Faizan Ahmed (Altaaqa) — Best Bowler; Nadeem Ahmed (F&A) and Hafeez Kaini (F&A) — Hat tricks; Zahid Travel Group — Fair Play; and Abdul Rafey and Syed Anwarullah — Best Umpires.
The committee members and umpires were also presented with plaques of appreciation from the Group.
Amr Khashoggi presented the winner and runner-up trophies. ZPL president Samiruddin thanked Zahid Group management, umpiring panel, captains, players, guests and family members, and all those who contributed to the success of the 5th ZPL tournament, especially committee members Altaf Hussain, Hammad Ahmed, Kumar Krishnan, Faisal L. Khan, Mohammed Kashif, Imran Sher Khan, Mirza Moin Baig, Syed Faisal Raza and Nadeem Ahmed.