The tournament phase of Lahore Qalandars’ player development program kicked off in Muzaffarabad with hosts Kashmir Qalandars and KP Qalandars winning their respective games on Tuesday.
The tournament was formally inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir Raja Farooq Haidar. The colorful opening ceremony saw students from different schools performing.
The PM hailed the efforts of Lahore Qalandars saying that cricket tournament in the valley has brought life back to the stadium here.
“It’s a great effort to mainstream Kashmir in national cricket,” he said at the opening ceremony.
The opening ceremony was followed by an action-packed cricketing encounter between teams of Group A.
In the first match of the day, Kashmir Qalandars - after being invited to bat first by Gilgit Qalandars - scored 142 for the loss of 9 wickets in allocated 20 overs.
Openers Yasir Khan (35 off 32) and Abdur Rehman (30 off 23) added 57 for the first wicket before Kashmir crumbled from 85/1 to 108/6.
Mohammad Zubair smashed two sixes and two fours to score 29 runs to help Kashmir post a defendable total on board.
Gilgit, in response, lost four wickets with only 25 on board. The trio of Mubashir Habib, M Shoaib and Mehroz fought back in middle before Gilgit was bowled out for 134 runs, 9 runs short of their target.
Mubashir scored 40 while Shoaib added 31 runs. Mehroz smashed one six and two boundaries for his 24.
Salman Irshad and Rashid Khan got two wickets apiece.
In the second match of the day, KP Qalandars defeated Pardesi Qalandars by 25 runs.
KP, after winning the toss, posted 145/4 on board as Ali Sajjad Hashmi scored the first half-century of the tournament.
Sajjad, along with Aitizaz Khan, added 90 runs for the third wicket’s partnership. He smashed 5 sixes and 7 fours to score 83 off 62. Aitzaz remained not out with 35 runs against his name on scoreboard.
Pardesi Qalandars - a team of Pakistani expats - could score 120 for the loss of 6 wickets in 20 overs. Antum Naqvi was only Pardesi batsman who looked comfortable and scored and unbeaten 40. KP’s Maaz Khan got three wickets.