Sunday 29th April 2018 saw the long awaited playing of last autumn's play off between the winners of the respective leagues in the northern and southern areas of Cyprus for the prestigious Creditwest All Cyprus Cricket Trophy. Played at the Ozanköy Stadium, the twin roars of Zeus, the Greek God of Thunder competed with those of the North Cyprus Lions for the title of All Island Champions 2017.
For the third year in succession, the champions of South Cyprus have taken on those of the North, the question was could the TRNC side, The Cyprus Lions, make it a hat-trick of wins by beating Nicosia Thunder?
The Lions were asked to bat first in the 30 over/innings match and got off to a wild start. With just 2 overs gone they were on 34; with an incredible 24 extras being given away. By just the 3rd over they had reached 43 without loss from some more very helpful bowling. As the English fans amongst the spectators were heard to predict, a score of between 230 and 260 looked likely.
Nicosia realised something had to change and introduced into their attack the controlled medium paced pairing of Ali (31 for 5) and Mangla (45 for 4), which was game changing. The North’s side were quickly reduced from that scintillating start to just 93 for 9 with only Imran Bajwa (16) having offered any real resistance. Number 11 batsman Shahzad strode in to join Israr Butt at the crease, with a score of even three figures looking beyond the team. However, this Lion wasn’t about to die that easily, its tail swung aggressively from side to side as 37 were smashed in 4 overs to bring the final total to 130 and everyone could sense the game was alive again.
Nicosia Thunder approached their innings in a much calmer fashion, knowing they had plenty of overs to chase the low score. The classy Sandy (13), the hard hitting Shabbi (23), along with Manan (15) held the innings together as the North’s Usman (19 for 3) and Israr Butt (36 for 2) worked hard to take the wickets needed for victory. Half way through the visitor’s innings they succeeded in creating a mini collapse and the home sides' supporters sensed a chance, but the target was always too low and the Greek side took the trophy home with 3 wickets in hand and 8 overs to spare. Afterwards, umpires George Ward and Richard Boxall felt that the outstanding fielding of the well drilled Nicosia Thunder had been the main difference.
Nigel Holman, Chairman of the TRNC Cricket Association, told us, "the Greek side deserved their first Creditwest All Cyprus Trophy win." Adding, "despite having not encountered these conditions before, namely playing on a football pitch with a plastic wicket, they adapted extremely well."
Everyone now looks forward to seeing the next meeting between the champions of the two leagues at some point in the future.
Cyprus Lions Cricket Club
|Ghaffar ||c. Manan ||b. Ali ||7|
|Imran Bajwa ||c. Shabbi ||b. Ali ||16|
|Irfan || b. Ali||1|
|Usman ||LBW ||b. Mangla||5|
|Bilal ||c. Behzad ||b. Ali||0|
|Anwar ||LBW||b. Mangla||0|
|Farhan||c. Siffat||b. Ali||5|
|Israr Butt ||LBW||b. Mangla||29|
Nicosia Thunder won by 3 wickets
|Sandy || c. Shahzad||b. Usman||13|
|Umair ||c. Bilah||b. Anwar||0|
|Mangla b. Usman 0||b. Usman||0|
|Shabbi ||LBW||b. Usman||23|
|Ali ||b. Israr Butt||0|
|Shoaib ||c. Nasis||b. Israr Butt||7|
|Tayyab ||Not Out||14|
|TOTAL (7 wkts)||134|
Updated 15:46 - 3 May 2018 by Ian Fell