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American University of Sharjah emerge champions

College team ride on the brilliance of Haris and Khan to retain title

Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News
Triumphant AUS team with UAE national team caoch Aaqib Javed and Farouq Siddiqui of Dubai Cricket Council.
Gulf News

Dubai: American University of Sharjah (AUS) retained the Maxtalent Global Pride Cup to once again stamp their authority in the Inter-University Cricket tournament.

In the final match of the sixth edition of this annual inter-varsity tournament held at the Fairgrounds Oval under the auspices of the Dubai Cricket Council, AUS defeat Manipal University by six wickets.

AUS leg spinner Nasir Khan produced a deadly spell of five for 14 to bowl out Manipal for 97 runs in 19.2 overs. Skipper Shahzada Haris then steered AUS to victory in just 13.4 overs through a breezy 58 off just 38 balls studded with five sixes and four boundaries.

Saurabh Gir, the skipper of Manipal University, who won the toss and elected to bat, cracked a fighting 59 runs off 46 balls in his team’s total of 97 with five boundaries and two sixes but his effort went in vain. None of his teammates except for Anas Khan, who hit 15 runs with two sixes, reached the double figures.

AUS opened their bowling with Nasir Khan, who bowled Manipal opener Hamid Mohammad for a duck. He then went on to have Sohan Shukla stumped and dismissed Karan Sangani, Polwinder Singh along with the prize wicket of Gir to complete his five-wicket spell and bag the Player-Of-The-Final award.

Chasing the target, AUS lost an early wicket when opener Rehan Ali was caught at covers by Syed Yaseen off Gir for two.

Openers Haris and Haseer Taj, who hit 20 runs, took the game away from Manipal through a stubborn partnership.

Though Hamid Mohammad took two quick wickets, AUS comfortably reached the target.

AUS had earlier reached the final after beating Heriot Watt by seven runs while Manipal defeated Bits Ranch by 21 runs in the semifinal.

It was AUS’s third title triumph in this six-year-old tournament, having first won this tournament in 2009. Speaking to Gulf News, VC James, the cricket coach and physical education director of the AUS, said: “Our University’s dominance in inter-university cricket is purely due to the hard work my boys put in during our daily practice. We have an excellent ground in our university campus and our vice-chancellor of student affairs takes a lot of personal interest to encourage the boys. Despite many good players graduating we still have a good team.”

Dr Mohammad Hilal, the Director of the institution’s Student Athletics and Recreation Department was present to encourage his team in the final.

Former Pakistan Test star and UAE cricket team coach Aaqib Javed gave away the trophy and winners’ medals in the presence of Farukkh Siddiqui of Dubai Cricket Council.