The Bukhatir Premier League, which is the oldest cricket tournament in the UAE, commenced its 43rd edition with Bukhatir XI, the team named after Abdul Rehman Bukhatir, who brought international cricket to Sharjah, winning the inaugural match against Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) Blues team at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
For the players in the Bukhatir XI, it was a special moment as Bukhatir’s two sons Waleed Bukhatir and Khalaf Bukhatir who set up this team turned up to watch the action.
While for Waleed, who is today the chairman of the UAE national team selection committee and ECB member it was a nostalgic moment as he had grown watching this tournament launched by his father.
“I thank my father for the unrelenting support he has given in promoting cricket at the domestic level by providing the world class Sharjah Cricket Stadium. We are all happy and excited for the tournament, which gives the players an opportunity to showcase their talent.”
This tournament which has always got sponsorship support, will have One Stop Tourism, which is also a formidable cricket team, as the title sponsors and backed by Delhi Nihari, Cool and Cool and General Petroleum.
The prize money for the event has swelled to Dh45,000. The winners can pocket Dh25,000 while the runner-up can win Dh15,000.
Sharjah Cricket Council stages this tournament at the historic Sharjah Cricket Stadium under floodlights.
Sixteen teams will contest in this 50-over format with the semi-finals and finals, to be played on May 21, 22nd and 24 which will be streamed live on ‘Livescores.ae’.
A total of 31 games will be held including the quarter-finals, semis and the final.
In the opening match Bukhatir XI beat ECB Blues by four wickets.
Bukhatir XI, ever since it was formed, has had an impressive winning record.
Winning the toss and opting to bat first, ECB got off to a good start with opener Sagheer Afridi hitting 52 from 59 deliveries. Soon batsmen kept falling at the other end before A Rehman (30) helped ECB post 135 in 31.4 overs.
Mohammad Halan, who won the man of the match led the attack with two wickets backed by Hanif Ullah, Umar Irshad with two wickets each.
Bukhatir XI got off to a bad start losing three wickets.
UAE’s Rameez Shahzad, fresh from good knocks against Papua New Guinea, hit 30 from 56 balls while Vishnu Sukumaran scored 22 from 54 deliveries.
Halan sparkled with the bat too scoring an unbeaten 33-ball 24 runs to help Bukhatir XI reach the target in 33.4 overs.
Brief scores: Bukhatir XI bt ECB Blues by 4 wickets. ECB Blues: 135 in 31.4 overs (Sagheer Afridi 52, A Rehman 30; Hanif Ullah 2 for 46, Umar Irshad 2 for 40, Mohd Halan 2 for 26) Bukhatir XI: 136 for 6 in 33.4 overs (Rameez Shahzad 30, Vishnu Sukumaran 22, Mohammad Halan 24n.o, H Bilal 4 for 35, Karthik Meyappan 2 for 35). Man of the match: Mohammad Halan.
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