Pakistan team applaud after winning a match in the Blind Cricket World Cup. Image Credit: Courtesy: PBCC

Ajman: Indian government’s refusal to clear the national blind cricket team to play in Pakistan in the final of the Blind Cricket World Cup has turned out to be Sharjah’s gain. The final of the Blind Cricket World Cup, which is likely to witness a clash between the arch rivals, will now be held in the historical venue on January 20.

Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have qualified for the semi-final. Mahantesh GK, President of World Blind Cricket Ltd and also the head honcho of the Cricket Association of the Blind in India (CABI), expressed his regret about the Indian team not touring Pakistan. “The Cricket Association of Blind in India tried its best to get clearance as the Indian Blind cricket team was ready to play World Cup matches in Pakistan, but the government hasn’t allowed,” said Mahantesh.
Responding to India’s decision, Syed Sultan Shah, Chairman of Pakistan Blind Cricket Council, expressed his disappointment on India’s decision. “Opportunities for playing Blind Cricket is already limited and conducting Blind Cricket events isn’t easy. It’s for the betterment of global cricket that we have decided to host the final at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Saturday”.

India, meanwhile, kept a clean slate and will now clash against Bangladesh in the semi-finals. They beat Nepal in their last league match by eight wickets on Sunday. Nepal had won the toss and elected to bat, but were restricted to 156 in 37.5 overs for the loss of nine wickets.

For India, Prakash Jayaramiah took two wickets at the expense of 22 runs as Ajay Reddy, Rambir, Prem Kumar and Jafar took a wicket each. India then chased down the modest target by losing two wickets. Man of the Match Ajay Gariya scored 54 of 29 balls and struck six fours and while Mehender’s unbeaten 40 in 30 balls and Rambir’s unbeaten 38 in 23 balls helped India to cruise comfortably.
Pakistan team had, meanwhile, created history in the 11th match of the tournament against Australia by posting 563 runs, breaking their highest record of 517 against South Africa at Sahara Park Newlands in December 2010. The green shirts eventually won by 394 runs.