Photo Credit: Pakistan Cricket Board
- Action photos are available here; please credit @PCB
- All six squads available here; For event details and schedule, click here; event hashtags are #Next11 and #PJL
The first edition of the Pakistan Junior League has reached its business end at the end of an absorbing 15-match group stage. The first of its kind league produced some memorable moments including a century, a five-fer, a hat-trick, and a 32-run over as the future cricket stars from around the world lapped up the opportunity of playing at the headquarters of Pakistan cricket, the iconic Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
Table-toppers Gwadar Sharks will play the first playoff match (Qualifier 1) against second-placed Bahawalpur Royals. Third-placed Rawalpindi Raiders will take on fourth-placed Mardan Warriors in the Eliminator on Wednesday. The loser of the Qualifier 1 and the winner of the Eliminator will clash in the Qualifier 2 on Thursday with the winner joining the Qualifier 1 winner in the tournament final on Friday evening.
The winners will pocket PKR10million with the runners-up to be given PKR5million. The individual performers will have the player of the tournament, best batter, best bowler, best wicket-keeper and best fielder awards to grab. The player of the tournament will be rewarded with PKR1million while the other individual award winners will be rewarded with PKR500,000 each.
Qualifier 1 – Gwadar Sharks vs Bahawalpur Royals:
Sharks, mentored by Sir Vivian Richards, have played some outstanding cricket, winning four out of their five group stage matches. Led by Shamyl Hussain, the players have put in some remarkable performances. Leg-spinner Saad Masood took a five-fer in their thumping 77-run win over Warriors last night. Saad currently leads the tournament bowling charts with 10 wickets.
All-rounder Arafat Minhas has been excellent with both bat and ball and is so far the third highest run-getter (159 runs) and joint second highest wicket-taker in the tournament (eight wickets). Opener Luc Martin Benkenstein, who scored a scintillating 74 last night, is fourth on the batters chart with 155 runs.
Royals, mentored by Imran Tahir, finished second on the points table with six points – three wins in five matches. Opener Basit Ali has been one of the stellar performers of the PJL. The right-hander is at the top of the batting charts with 233 runs, his tally includes the only century of the event, a brilliant unbeaten 102 against Gujranwala Giants.
Amongst the bowlers, Royals’ stand-in captain Arham Nawab has taken eight wickets with his off-spin. The tall 6 feet 8 inches pacer Mohammad Zeeshan has also captured eight wickets.
Royals recorded a comfortable eight-wicket win over Sharks in the group stage clash between the two sides, Sharks surely have the depth and quality in their squad to turn the tables in what is expected to be a thrilling encounter between the two sides tomorrow evening at the GSL.
Eliminator – Rawalpindi Raiders vs Mardan Warriors:
The Colin Munro-mentored Rawalpindi Raiders have also witnessed some unforgettable moments in the tournament. Captain Habibullah was the striker and hit four sixes and one four in the most expensive over of the season with Hyderabad Hunters’ Fahad Amin the unfortunate bowler. Habibullah, who has so far hit the most sixes in the tournament (eight), occupies the fifth spot in the batting charts with 153 runs.
Left-arm-spinner Afnan Khan registered the competition’s only hat-trick to date as he achieved the feat in his side’s 14-run DLS Method win over the Hunters. Afnan is currently placed number two on the bowling charts with eight wickets.
Warriors, mentored by Shahid Afridi, have produced some high-octane moments of their own especially with their pace bowlers Abidullah (six wickets), Aimal Khan (five wickets) and Mohammad Nabeel (five wickets).
Openers Shahzaib Khan (137 runs) and George Thomas (125 runs) occupy ninth and tenth spots in the batting charts.
In the group stage clash, Raiders prevailed by five wickets. However, the Warriors will come out all guns blazing in the knockout clash on Wednesday, Raiders too will be ready to take on the challenge in what promises to be an engrossing contest.
Tuesday’s fixture: Qualifier 1 – Gwadar Sharks vs Bahawalpur Royals (6pm)
Wednesday’s fixture: Eliminator – Rawalpindi Raiders vs Mardan Warriors (6pm)
Final Points Table – Pakistan Junior League 2022