The tournament, organised by the Sharjah Cricket Council, at the Sharjah stadium, witnessed an close encounter, wherein the Sharjah Club won by a close margin of two wickets.
Rufi Real Estate, batting first, were shot out for 218 in 49.1 overs with Tariq Shah (72 off 102 balls; seven fours) doing bulk of the scoring in the company of Mohammed Jahangir (35), A. Sajid (29) and Khawar (24). They might have done even better, had it not been for Rashid Khan and Amjad Ali, who both took four wickets each to stall their progress.
Sharjah Club, once the number one team in the UAE, achieved the target in the 48th over with Salman Farooq (52off 56 balls; six fours) and Riaz Khan (42off 56 balls) remaining not out to provide the finishing touch to their victory. Rashid Khan rounded a good all-round performance, scoring 34. Irfan Ansari claimed three wickets for 19 runs and Sajid snared two for 38, but the Sharjah Club batsmen were hardly threatened by the Rufi bowlers.
Bukhatir League, the longest-running tournament in the UAE, has this year has attracted 12 teams that are divided into three groups. The tournament, first played in 1974, is the brainchild of Abdulrahman Bukhatir, who himself led the Sharjah Club with his astute leadership between 1974 and 1977 and made the club a force to be reckoned with.
In the last edition of the League, the NMC rode on a brilliant century from Asim Ijaz, to beat Ibsons CC by 74 runs in the final to win the Bukhatir Premier League title for the third successive year. The victory was the icing on the cake for NMC, who rounded off a great 2009 season, adding the Sharjah-Ramadan Twenty20 Rufi Cup and the first Al Dhaid Gold Cup to their silverwares. The premier team from Abu Dhabi will be hoping to make it four on the trot, but will have to find that extra gear to see off the challenge their opponents, who since have strengthened their teams with some new blood.
The Sharjah Club still hold the distinction of winning the mega event for a record nine times, but the script has undergone dramatic changes with the emergence of corporate teams who all have threatened Sharjah Club’s stay at the top.
Brief scores: Sharjah Club beat Rufi Real Estate by two wickets: Rufi Real Estate: 218 all out in 49.1 overs (Tariq Shah 74, Mohammed Jahangir 35, A Sajid 29, Khawar 24; Rashid Khan 4 for 30, Amjad Ali 4 for 45) Sharjah Club: 219 for 8 in 47.4 overs (Salman Farooq 52 not out, Riaz Khaliq 42 not out, Rashid Khan 34, N. Hazarat 25; Irfan Ansari 3 for 19, Sajid 2 for 38). Man of the match: Rashid Khan of Sharjah Club.
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