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Pakistan Veterans team has showcased commendable performances to lift the inaugural Over 60s World Cup. They defeated the unbeatable Australia in the Semi-final before outclassing the New Zealand side in the final.
The Pakistani team which is composed of several former first-class cricketers has been successful in exhibiting a tremendous show in Brisbane, Australia. The ultimate glory is embarked on the back of substantial efforts that the veterans have been silently putting in there.
A Quick Review of Over 60s World Cup
The top 12 teams from the cricketing globe participated in the inaugural Over 60s World Cup being played in different venues across the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane Australia. Teams were divided into two pools. Pakistan was placed in Pool B along with sides like New Zealand, South Africa, Rest of the World, the USA & West Indies. Though the One Day World Cup (45 overs per innings) was originally scheduled to be played between 3-15 September but persistent rains across Queensland forced the organizers to reschedule some of the matches.
The revised schedule made things implacably harder as Pakistan Veterans side was forced to play three games on the trot followed by a gap and then two consecutive matches. In short, Pakistan Veterans played seven matches (including Semi-final & Final) in a span of ten days. A demanding ask even at your prime age, isn’t it?
Tough but certainly not enough to dwindle the spirits of Men in Green. As Pakistan began with their World Cup campaign, defeating West Indies by 23 runs. In their rain-hit second match, they fell short against New Zealand by 44 runs. Triumphed their third encounter against the Rest of the World team by 43 runs on the back of a superb ton from former first-class player Syed Ghaffar Kazmi. The fourth clash against USA got washed out due to persistent downpour. Pakistan won their last group game against South Africa by three wickets.
The Knockout Stage of Over 60s World Cup
In the Semi-final they had to face the challenge of heavyweight Australia. But Pakistan successfully managed to edge past them after a thrilling battle. Australia batted first and assembled 215 runs for the loss of six wickets in their allotted 45 overs. Peter Jensen remained the top scorer with his knock of 91 runs. Pakistan were firm in their chase for the most part but Australian bowlers made a noticeable comeback, reducing Pakistan from 161-3 to 198-9. But wicketkeeper-batsman Tahir Rashid, who is also the younger brother of former test player Haroon Rashid kept his calm under enormous pressure and steered the ship for Pakistan.
The Final Hurdle
Pakistan team faced the challenge of New Zealand in the finals. Kiwis had been equally scintillating throughout the tournament. Moreover, they had a psychological advantage as they overcame Pakistan in the group stage.
All these speculations though appeared to be pointless on the given day. New Zealand after winning the toss opted to bat first and assembled 173-9 in their allotted 45 overs. At one stage, they were reeling at 38-4 as the opening bowlers Muhammad Yaqoob & Syed Saghir Abbas (Younger brother of Zaheer Abbas) delivered a quality opening burst. Russell Drake was the top scorer for New Zealand with his reconciliatory knock of 51.
Pakistan remained steadfast in their chase as the opener Muhammad Aslam played a solid knock of 70 runs. Meanwhile, Syed Muhammad Ghaffar Kazmi continued with his tremendous run in the World Cup and played another unbeaten knock of 71. He had an overall tally of 277 runs in the competition at an impressive average of 55.40 which remained second to none. Ultimately, Pakistan comprehensively overran New Zealand by seven wickets to become the World Champions at the Veterans level.