UAE cricket glimpses into future as Zayed Academy win U18 National Academies League
Zayed Cricket Academy are the inaugural winners of the UAE Under 18 National Academies League after a resounding 58-run win over G-Force Academy at the Ocean Fair Oval at the Dubai Investment Park on Saturday.
Starting in September, the UAE U18 National Academies League comprised 12 elite academies from around the country playing in a 30-over round robin format, with the top four — Zayed Academy, G-Force, Young Talent and GM Academy — qualifying for the semi-finals.
The competition, conducted by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), has given the youngsters a platform on which to showcase their potential for selection to the UAE national age group teams.
“It has been a successful first tournament and the first of its kind in the UAE,” said Andrew Russell, the ECB’s development officer.
“This was a new experience for both the academies as well as for the youngsters to play in the home and away format. Obviously, our objective is to build on the success we have achieved on this inaugural tournament.”
Khurram Khan, the former UAE captain and now an ECB selector, was the guest of honour and gave away the awards to the winner and runner up.
“I have been following all the games and individual stats of the players, and a competition at this level provides us the opportunity to watch the best young talents in the country,” he said.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Zayed Academy posted 178-9 before dismissing G-Force for 120 to win the final.
Jonathan Figy (48) and Osama Hassan (43) were Zayed Academy’s batting mainstays, while Karthik Meiyappan (2-14) and Khalid Mahmood (2-13) were the pick of the bowlers.
Zayed Academy captain Abhishek Prakash, who will move to Claremont School in the United Kingdom on a cricket scholarship in September, said he can take the experience forward.
“It has been a long and arduous competition but one from which we can take a lot of positives forward,” he said.
“It kept us in training for the entire season and as a result we are more fitter and improved our cricket from the experience.”
Scores in brief:
Zayed Cricket Academy 178-99 in 30 overs (Figy 48, Hassan 43; Thapar 2-23, Lakhani 2-24) bt G-Force 120 in 26.2 overs (Thapar 32, Kapur 29, Bhatia 23, Mahmood 2-14, Meiyappan 2-15)
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Updated: May 7, 2017 04:00 AM