PESHAWAR – The Zalmi Madrasa League Final took place at Arbab Niaz Stadium, Peshawar between Al Nujoom Risers and Al Wahda Hitters. Both of these teams were favorites of the tournament and seeing them both in the final was not a surprise.
Both of these teams defeated their rivals in the semi-finals quite comprehensively and made their way into the final. Chairman Javed Afridi, Head Coach Mohammad Akram and Cricket Legend Younis Khan were present to witness the talented madrassa students compete with each other.
Javed Afridi said that “this is just the stepping stone for Peshawar Zalmi. We aim to take this initiative to other parts of Pakistan including Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh. He also gave good news to the students by stating that “Peshawar Zalmi will be making pitches for them and also providing them with cricket equipment. Madrasa students deserve an equal opportunity to enter into the sports arena and we will ensure this.”
Head Coach, Mohammad Akram, congratulated the madrasa students and the winning team for playing exceptional cricket throughout the tournament. He further added that “there is no doubt about the talent that these Madrasa Students possess. He believes that if given the proper opportunity, they too can represent Pakistan at the National level. We will facilitate these students in anyway we can.
He appreciated the efforts of Chairman Javed Afridi and also thanked Younis Khan for coming all the way from Karachi for the ceremony.
Younis Khan was greeted cheerfully by the crowd. The players were super excited to meet the T20 World Cup winning captain and the leading run scorer for Pakistan.
Younis Khan gave the awards to the man of the match and the match officials. He was super pleased with the efforts of Peshawar Zalmi and said that “these initiatives need to happen more frequently. As sports is a platform that can bring everyone together and also promote harmony along with it.
He said that “Zalmi Madrasa League is an initiative that have set an example for others. Not only has it provided the madrasa students a cricket platform but has also promoted a positive image of Pakistan.”
The final was a thrilling encounter between the two sides. Al Wahda Hitters chose to bat first and set up a gigantic total of 104 runs for the loss of 3 wickets. Adil Nawaz scored 42 runs with Jalil scoring 20 runs.
Haris and Luqman both picked up 1 wicket each.
In reply, the Al Nujoom Risers lost early wickets but came back in the game with a sensational knock of 41 by Ayyaz who was unbeaten.
Umar scored 28 runs to help them get closer to the target. The climax was when Al Nujoom Risers needed 40 runs of the last 2 overs. With Al Haq Smashers being the favorite at that point, Ayyaz smashed 2 sixes and 2 fours in the second last over to change the fate of the game. After hitting a six of the second last ball of the innings, he brought the trophy home by taking a single of the last ball.
Al Nujoom Risers with a total of 105/4, won the final by 6 wickets. Taimoor took 2 wickets for 22 runs and Atiq bagged in 1 wicket for 13 runs.
Zalmi Madrasa League was attended by Federal Minister of Religious Affairs, Mr. Noor-ul- Haq Qadri, Zia Ullah Bangash, Advisor to Chief Minister KP, Bishop of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dr Zia, DG Islamic International Research Institute and many other renowned personalities.
Zalmi Madrasa League will be taken a step forward and also introduced in the provinces of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan so that Madrasa Students of Pakistan can have this same opportunity. They will be provided with cricket pitches and equipment so that they too can play their sport with the utmost passion. Zalmi souvenirs, kits and shirts were distributed among the players.