Fifty teams from 37 schools across the UAE began their road to glory last month hoping to follow in the footsteps of Modern Heros (Under-13) and Our Own Zenith (U-15), having stood top of their class in January’s finals.
Just like the previous two years, competition to qualify for the knock-outs was fierce.
Divided into three regional pools – Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai, only eight spots in each age
category were up for grabs.
Two new age groups were introduced – U-14 and U-17 but that only enhanced the quality on the field.
In 88 matches, a staggering 11,021 runs were scored, including 162 sixes and 936 fours, while 663 wickets fell. That sets the platform for some thrilling encounters when the tournament resumes on January 20.
In the U-14s, an intriguing last-eight clash is in store. Both DPS Sharjah and DPS Falcons were in fine form, topping their respective groups with perfect records but the dream will end for one side at The Sevens in the new year.
For Modernite, having tasted success in the last two U-13 editions, they remain as hungry as ever to make it a hat-trick. The Dubai outfit won all their games but Abu Dhabi’s runners-up BRS Tigers stand in their way.
Abu Dhabi Indian School beat Tigers to top spot but face a stern task against IHS Knights, who are on a roll with three wins out of three.
Completing the line-up is GOOIS Warriors’ clash with Our Own Zenith. Sharjah’s runners-up Zenith have a huge challenge against Warriors, who are seeking their fourth straight triumph.
There will be more drama in the U-17s after their last-eight draw threw up some intriguing matches.
Having seen their younger team-mates win all their games, Modernite matched the feat and their reward is a tie with DPS Sharjah, who lost once in their four outings.
For last season’s U-15 champions, Zenith, they’ve been beaten once but cannot afford another bad
result when they meet a dangerous-looking DIA Wolves side.
Abu Dhabi winners PAK Eagles entertain in-form JC Heat with both teams on a 100 per cent run.
Also in action are debutants Cambridge, who take on DPS Falcons after the Dubai side beat Repton Royals in the pre-quarter clash.
Emirates Cricket Board officials will be impressed with the future with a number of players standing out. Zenith’s U-14 captain, Shoun Roger is having a campaign to remember, topping the batting and bowling charts with 164 runs and 16 wickets.
In the U-17s, Zenith’s Ajmal Mohammed, who smashed a ton alongside his centurion team-mate Brandon Martis in the same match, is top batsman with 225 runs.
DPS Sharjah’s Owais Sajid is best bowler so far with nine scalps.