MUSCAT: Premier Division giant Assarain claimed the most coveted cricket crown in the country on Saturday as star-studded Passage to India (PTI) failed to defend its title, losing the race on net run rate (NRR) after finishing the competition with the same 32 points from 10 games as those collected by Assarain.
Requiring a victory with a big margin, PTI defeated Muscat CT by 45 runs on the competition’s last day concluding its campaign with a NRR of +1.516, way below Assarain’s run rate of +2.137. Muscat ended up third with 24 points.
“I am proud of the whole team and how we have played together to become champions of the Oman Premier League once again. We have again showed why we are a formidable force to reckon with,” said Assarain captain Gustav Burger.
“The main reason why we could claim the trophy this year is the partnerships built by the top six batsmen at important times. This was backed up by tight bowling from Kaleemullah at the start with regular wickets at crucial times from Muhammed Nadeem and Shakeel Ahmed, both claiming 15 wickets for the season, and Zeeshan and Sindo throughout the game. On behalf of the team we would like to thank our manager Vinu Matthew and the management team that made this season possible. No cricket team in the world depends on one or two players. Our team has played and fought together during a challenging season,” he added.
Team manager Vinu Mathew was delighted to see his team winning its third title in four years.
“This was a wonderful season for Assarain cricket team and winning the championship is always a great feeling. It was a total team effort and all the players showed their class in all three departments of the game. Top order batting was one of the major positives in this season as bulk of the runs were scored by them and we have five batsmen in the top 10 this season, with Sanuth Ebrahim scoring 433 runs and Khalid Kail collecting 376. And bowling was also good with three of our bowlers in the top 10,” said Vinu, who is also a well-known sports commentator and organizer.
Talking about the net run rate scenario, Vinu said: “We always had the NRR in our mind and the team responded well by closing the game on a high note whenever there was an opportunity. The last two matches against Muscat and IT Works are prime example for that. Overall a great team work. Thanks to everyone especially the management for having the faith in us,” he added.
Brief scores: PTI 245 for 9 in 50 overs (Abdul Rauf 95 – 5×4, 6×6, Mehran Khan 38 – 4×4, 2×6, Amir Ali 37 – 4×4, 1×6. Rajeshkumar Ranpura 4-19, Munis Ansari 2-48) beat Muscat CT 200 all out in 45.2 overs (Jatinder Singh 39 – 5×4, Asish Oddedra 37 – 5×4, Ayaan Khan 35 – 3×4. Khawar Ali 4-23, Amir Kaleem 3-45, Mehran Khan 2-29) by 45 runs.