Sport360 rounds up a dramatic Under-13 final from the ICC Academy in Dubai, as GEMS Modern Academy beat PAK Hawks on the final ball to claim the inaugural National School League cricket title.
- WATCH: #NSL360 U15 Final Highlights
Ruthless bowling from Mohammed Owais Sajid and Shasreek Datta helped DPS Sharjah decimate Abu Dhabi Indian School’s batting line-up for a 66-run win in the NSL’s Under-15 final.
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Sajid lit up the occasion with a brilliant hat-trick while Datta finished with figures of 4-7 as DPS Sharjah proved to be too strong for ADIS at Dubai’s ICC Academy.
DPS Sharjah’s early morning practice sessions from 05:30 to 07:00 before school paid off as their total of 113-8 was too much for the ADIS, who were all out for 47 in the 16th over. Sajid, in particular, was red hot, dismissing their top three.
The victory will be even more special to DPS Sharjah given its extra incentives. Next month they will receive coaching tips from former and current England internationals Paul Collingwood and Ben Stokes at the Emirates Airline Twenty20 at 7he Sevens.
And they can put those tips into practice when they take on international schools in the Emirates Airline Under-16 ARCH Cup in March and April.
Triumphant captain Sparsh Hegde said: “We stuck to our basics and batted well, our bowling was too good and we did extremely well to finish them off.
“We put in a lot of hard work in training and we listened to our coach. Our bowling was fantastic.”
Proud coach Vikram Dutt heaped praise on his players.
“I told my boys that if we play as a team we can definitely win, and if you play individually, you will never win a game,” he beamed.
His team recovered from 44-2 to post 113-8 in their 20 overs thanks to 30 extras. Captain Hegde top-scored with an unbeaten 29, which included two boundaries with Menon Devnath and Abhinav Dhawan hitting 14 runs each.
With Jonathan Figy in top-form with the bat, ADIS would’ve fancied their chances on chasing the target. However, Sajid was the difference, dismissing Figy (8), Sahil Haniani (8) and Abhishek Prakash (0) in successive balls with the score at 18-3 in the fifth over.
ADIS coach SB Dey said: “We couldn’t cope with the pressure and once our star batsman Jonathan Figy was out, we lost regular wickets. The burden was on the new batsmen and they couldn’t cope with that pressure. Plus we gave too many wides and that was the difference. To lose that many runs is disappointing.”
Man of the Match
Mohammed Owais Sajid
Modest with the bat after a run-a-ball knock of just 7, but came to life with a magnificent hat-trick to removing Abu Dhabi Indian School’s dangerous batsmen, including Jonathan Figy, in the fifth over.
Dheeraj Devarajan served up another display of last-ball heroics as GEMS Modern Academy survived the loss of four wickets in a pulsating final over to edge PAK Hawks Sharjah in the Under-13 final of the Sport360° National School League (NSL).
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The Dubai school looked on course to finish the job of chasing the Hawks’ total of 100, but a late collapse made for a thrilling finish at the ICC Academy and presented the last-ball saviour of their semi-final win over Efians Army a chance to repeat the trick.
With the score at 99-7, Devarajan faced the final delivery and with it a straightforward scenario. One run would mean a Super Over, while anything more equalled victory.
And it proved to be the latter, as he found enough space between the fielders to hit a well-struck shot that eventually found its way to the boundary. He celebrated with a huge roar before being mobbed by his team-mates at the crease, while some of the beaten PAK Hawks’ players had tears in their eyes.
“All the fielders were close inside the circle and I saw a gap between them, and I thought that if I can play it straight then I can score the boundary – thankfully it just worked out,” said the leg-spinner, when asked what had been going through his mind at the crucial moment. “To win the final for your team is the greatest feeling on earth and you can’t match it. It’s simply brilliant.”
It was a match that will certainly go down as one of the most thrilling encounters of the tournament, and it was a final that had drama from the very first ball.
Electing to bat on a dry wicket, PAK Hawks got off to a poor start when their star batsman Ibrar Hussain was out for a golden duck. The opener had been in fine form, striking two half-centuries in his previous two games and his dismissal from all-rounder Swabhanu Khosla gave GEMS a real boost.
Abul Moiz and Muhammad Qasim Suleman revitalised the innings, putting on 62 before the latter fell in the eighth over for 36.
Moiz (19) was then sent back to the pavilions by Shivam Ghosh.
And despite the efforts of Syed Ahmed (18no), the Sharjah school lost their last four wickets for 11 runs. Ghosh and Varun Ravi were the standout performers with two wickets each.
In reply, GEMS got off to a strong start thanks to their star opener Khosla (45). He and partner Ronak Panoly put on 38 for the first wicket. Panoly (16) soon departed in the fifth over, but Ghosh and Khosla continued to do the damage with the bat with a 54-run partnership to reach 92-2.
But as soon as both were removed, it triggered the start of a batting collapse. Two run-outs and two wickets by Amr Ghulam Ullah gave PAK Hawks a sniff of victory. But it was Devarajan who had the final say with his match-winning runs.
PAK Hawks Sharjah coach, Fahim Alvi, had no complaints in the defeat. He said: “My boys fought until the last ball and it was never a one-sided game. It was a good competitive game and I hope that next year that we can qualify for the final again.”
GEMS Modern Academy
Rose to the challenge on the big day. Showed his rich potential with the ball to finish with figures of 2-19, before finding the boundary twice en route to a 29-run knock off just 25 balls.