By Sohail Ali
LAHORE, Dec 30 (APP):Although Covid-19 pandemic continued to affect sport events around the globe, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) successfully delivered 267 matches in 10 tournaments in the 2021 calendar year.
These include Pakistan Cup 2021, HBL PSL 6, Cricket Associations T20, National T20, Cricket Associations Championship, National U19 Championship, National U19 Cup, Cricket Associations Challenge, Pakistan Women’s Cup and the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had a stellar calendar year when they swept the Pakistan Cup, National T20 and Quaid-e-Azam Trophy titles. Sindh dominated the Cricket Association tournaments by winning the 50-over, T20 and three-day tournaments, while Southern Punjab U19 Whites and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa U19 Blues shared the pathway event titles.
Multan Sultans lifted the glittering HBL Pakistan Super League trophy in Abu Dhabi, whereas PCB Challengers retained the PCB Pakistan Women’s Cup crown.
At the start of the year in January, the 33-match Pakistan Cup was held across three Karachi venues. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lifted the trophy with a seven-wicket win over Central Punjab at the State Bank Stadium. Central Punjab’s Tayyab Tahir was the top run-getter, scoring 666 from 12 matches at 60.55. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Asif Afridi topped the bowling charts with 25 scalps from 12 outings in the tournament.
PCB marquee event, the HBL Pakistan Super League, commenced in Karachi but was postponed after 14 matches before the remaining 20 matches were held in Abu Dhabi. Multan Sultans, led by Mohammad Rizwan, won their maiden title, beating Peshawar Zalmi by 47 runs.
Pakistan’s all-format captain and Karachi Kings’ linchpin Babar Azam topped the batting charts, scoring 554 runs from 11 matches at 69.25. Young sensation right-arm fast bowler Shahnawaz Dahani representing Multan Sultans took 20 wickets from 11 matches.
Quetta’s Bugti Stadium hosted the 15-match Cricket Associations T20 tournament from 15 September to 22 September. Sindh, with four wins in five matches, won the competition.
Right-handed batter Aamer Azmat representing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa scored 242 runs from four matches and remained the top run-getter in the tournament. The 20-year old Zaman Khan from Northern topped the bowling charts, taking nine wickets from three matches.
The National T20 was held in Rawalpindi and Lahore from 23 September to 13 October. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa defeated Central Punjab by seven wickets at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore to lift the trophy.
The right-handed batter Sahibzada Farhan representing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was the top run-getter, scoring 447 from 12 matches at 40.64. In the bowling charts, Imran Khan Snr from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa topped the table with 16 wickets from 12 matches.
Cricket Associations Championship (three-day event) was held across different venues of Punjab from 29 September to 14 November. The 30-match tournament was won by Sindh after topping the points table with 34 points.
Balochistan’s right-handed batter Muhammad Azeem Ghumman topped the batting charts, scoring 890 runs from 10 matches. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Zohaib Khan took 30 wickets from nine matches, registering two five-wicket hauls in an innings.
The 15-match Cricket Associations Challenge was held in three Punjab cities and was won by Sindh. In the batting department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Aamer Azmat was the top run-getter with 335 runs from five matches at 67. In the bowling department, Central Punjab’s Mohammad Irfan Jnr took nine wickets from five outings and remained top wicket-taker in the tournament.
In pathway cricket, 12-team National U19 Championship (three-day event) was held from 10 October to 19 November in different parts of the country. The four-day final, which was staged at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, was won by Southern Punjab U19 Whites, who defeated Central Punjab U19 Blues by two wickets.
Southern Punjab Whites’ Mohammad Shehzad topped the batting charts, scoring 829 from six matches at 92.11. Right-arm off-spinner Arham Nawab representing Central Punjab U19 Blues grabbed 30 wickets from six matches.
The National U19 Cup was held from 14 October to 14 November at different parts of the country. The final was staged at the Pindi Cricket Stadium and was won by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa U19 Blues who defeated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa U19 Whites by 43 runs.
Central Punjab U19 Whites’ Azan Awais remained top run-getter, scoring 313 from five matches at 78.25. Sindh U19 Blues’ Khawaja Mohammad Hafeez bagged 16 wickets from five outings in the tournament, with one five-wicket haul in an innings.
The Pakistan Women’s Cup was staged from 9 September to 21 September in Karachi. The day-night final was won by PCB Challengers who defeated PCB Blasters by 68 runs at the National Stadium in Karachi.
Aliya Riaz representing PCB Dynamites scored 364 from seven matches at 60.67. The right-arm off-spinner Nida Dar from PCB Blasters topped the bowling charts, taking 14 wickets from seven outings.
The 31-match Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2021-22 was hosted in different parts of the country from 20 October to 29 December. The pink-ball final, held at the National Stadium in Karachi, was won by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who defeated Northern by 169 runs.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s captain Iftikhar Ahmed for his all-round performance (102 and 25, two wickets) was declared the player of the match. In the batting charts, Northern’s Mohammad Huraira was the top run-getter, scoring 986 from 11 matches at 58. In the bowling charts, Southern Punjab’s left-arm spinner Ali Usman picked 43 wickets from nine matches, registering two five-wicket hauls in an innings.