Sunday saw the first matches at Cyprus Cricket’s new ground at Ypsonas, which will provide an excellent venue for the game, and will allow more cricket to be played as the number of teams expands.
Youth and women’s cricket is also planned at the new facility, which has received a warm welcome from the teams.
The sun shone brightly for the first game, between Moufflons, a long-established Limassol team, and Punjab Lions, a Nicosia-based team which was formed a couple of years ago.
Moufflons batted first and Mehran showed his liking for the new surroundings by hitting four sixes in the first over he faced, and racing to 50 out of the first 53 runs his team scored. His effort was backed up by Lakhwinder, Gursewak and Sharma as Moufflons totalled a respectable 136 for 8 from their 20 overs.
Punjab Lions are a strong outfit however, and Tiwari, Guri, Lali and Kulwinder followed their wicket-taking bowling with useful runs as they reached their target in the 17th over with four wickets to spare. Lakhwinder took three wickets but suffered from dropped catches in the field.
Kulwinder received the man of the match award for his two wickets and unbeaten 41 runs.
In the afternoon match Nicosia XI Fighters struggled with the bat as Manan turned on a man of the match performance in taking four wickets for Nicosia Tigers. Arif, Sakir and Munna all reached 20 runs but the team only managed a total of 108, leaving them a difficult task with the ball.
Tigers set off as if they wanted to finish the job quickly, and with Roman hitting 30 and Faysal 22 they reached their target in only 9 overs for the loss of three wickets.
The match was played in a friendly spirit, even though the Fighters were badly mauled by the Tigers.
Meanwhile at Episkopi, the Limassol Gladiators had their first game of the season against the strong Riyaan team from Nicosia. Gladiators made a rapid start through Sadiq and Faheem, but the innings stalled when Riyaan’s captain Shoaib came on to bowl a very economical spell of four overs, taking two wickets for nine runs. Momentum was never regained, and the final score of 101 for 5 off 20 overs was disappointing.
In the Riyaan reply, Waleed bowled well without reward, and Babar took two early wickets, to give Gladiators some hope. But Rehman played another good innings, full of powerful lofted drives, before being well caught by Faheem.
Then Shoaib and Zeeshan comfortably saw their team home with a 38 partnership, reaching their target in the 13th over.
For his 47 runs, one wicket, and an excellent catch in the deep Rehman won the match award.
Next week’s fixtures see Nicosia Tigers in action again, versus Sri Lankans, while Eastern Cyprus take on Sri Lanka Lions, both games at Ypsonas.