SHARJAH // Phoenix Medicine, the pharmaceutical company who have the strongest staff cricket team in the country, won the most prestigious title in UAE domestic cricket on Friday night - then warned the chasing pack they will be even stronger next time we see them.
Phoenix eased to a five wicket triumph over Abu Dhabi Gymkhana in the 39th Bukhatir League final at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, on the back of a canny unbeaten innings of 61 by Saqlain Haider, the team's wicketkeeper.
"I am really happy with the way the guys have played throughout this tournament," said Adil Mirza, the Phoenix captain. "Everybody took responsibility in the right way and they did what they are supposed to do."
The title success was a pleasant return on the latest outlay the company have made to bolster their team.
For example, Mirza was able to hand the new ball to Mohammed Khalil, a left-arm quick bowler who has played two Test matches for Pakistan in the past.
Khalil was housed in four-star accommodation for the duration of this tournament, at the expense of the company.
He will head back to his homeland today, and will be replaced by Sharjeel Khan, a 23 year old batsman on the fringes of selection for Pakistan, the next time Phoenix go in pursuit of a trophy.
"He is an upcoming player, centrally contracted by the Pakistan Cricket Board and is very near to playing for the Pakistan national team in T20s," Mirza said of Sharjeel. "He is a very dashing player.
"I'm friends with a lot of the Pakistan players. They come and play and we shuffled them for the tournaments."
Mazhar Khan, the Emirates Cricket Board administrator, said: "This tournament has been of great quality. A lot of players have come through in this tournament and their performances have been noted by Aaqib Javed [the UAE national team coach]."
Phoenix Medicine beat Abu Dhabi Gymkhana by 5 wickets
Abu Dhabi Gymkhana 206-9 (Saqib Shah 35, Mohammed Qasim 3-29)
Phoenix Medicine 207-5 (Saqlain Haider 61*, Asif Mumtaz 55*)
Man of the match Saqlain Haider (Phoenix Medicine)
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