1996–97 SAARC Quadrangular
For the first time Pakistan and Sri Lanka took the tournament seriously, and send strong teams. Asif Mujtaba, the Pak captain, led from the front, and finished as the Player of the Tournament. He was helped in the batting department by Basit Ali and Akhtar Sarfraz. The bowling attack was led by Mohammad Zahid, arguably the fastest bowler at the time. While he struggled with no balls and wides, he still generated lot of pace from the slow wickets, and was a constant menace to the opposition batsmen. medium pacer Azhar Mahmood came good in the final.
The Indian team, (led by Amay Khurasiya, failed to perform up to expectation. In the group match, they were badly beaten by Pak 'A', as the Indian batting collpased badly. Only the makeshift opener MSK Prasad batted bravely to carry his bat thorough the innings for 56. The next highest score was by Mr. Extra (48). India, However, can consider them a bit unlucky in the final, as they were still in the game (with in form S. Sarath and MSK Prasad at the wicket) when rain intervened, and calculators were used to determine the champions. Indian medium pacer, Harvinder Singh was the top bowler of the tournament with 12 wickets. Sri Lanka achieved their first (and only) victory in SAARC Quadrangular history by beating Bangladesh by 5 wickets. Naveed Nawaz and Ruwan Kalpage batted consistently for the Lankans.
Although the local side (Coached by WI legend Gordon Greenidge) lost all their 3 games, there was no disgrace as all the oppositions were much stronger. The batting looked good, the skipper Akram Khan, his deputy Aminul Islam, the veteran Minhajul Abedin and the youngster Sanwar Hossain all warmed up well for the upcoming ICC trophy with a half century each. The bowling, however, looked completely harmless. Anisur Rahman who did so much damage with the reverse swing in 1994-95 failed to make any impact this time.
Scores in brief
|19 Feb.||Bangladesh Vs v Pakistan 'A'||Bangladesh 182/9 ( 43 extras, Hasibul Hossain 42*, Kabir Khan 3/29)||Pakistan'A' 186/4 (Asif Mujtaba 67, Mohammad Wasim 42)||Pakistan 'A' wins by 6 wickets|
|20 Feb.||India 'A' Vs v Sri Lanka 'A'||-||-||Match abondoend due to bad weather|
|22 Feb.||Bangladesh Vs v Sri Lanka 'A'||Bangladesh 220/9 (Sanwar Hossain 76, Akram Khan 54, Dulip Liyanage 4/42)||Sri Lanka'A' 222/5(Naveed Nawaz 88)||Sri Lanka 'A' wins by 5 wickets|
|23 Feb.||India 'A' Vs v Pakistan 'A'||Pakistan 'A' 232/9 (Basit Ali 67, Mohammad Hussain 51, Harvinder Singh 6/43)||India 'A' 164 (MSK Prasad 56*, Mohammad Zahid 3/36)||Pakistan 'A' wins by 68 runs|
|25 Feb.||Pakistan 'A' Vs v Sri Lanka 'A'||Sri Lanka 'A' 130 Ruwan Kalpage 54, Aaqib Javed4/17)||Pakistan'A' 132/9 (Akhtar Sarfraz 64*, Ranjith 3/27)||Pakistan 'A' wins by 1 wicket|
|26 Feb.||Bangladesh Vs v India 'A'||Bangladesh 235/7 (Aminul Islam 78, Minhajul Abedin 53, harvinder Singh 4/44)||India 'A' 236/3 (S. Sarath 64*, Gagan Khoda 63)||India 'A' wins by 7 wickets|
|28 February||Pakistan 'A' Vs India 'A' (Final)||Pakistan 'A' 199 (Asif Mujtaba 91, Noel David 3/32||India 'A' 124/5 (31 overs), (S. Sarath 35*, Azhar Mahmood 3/30)||Pakistan 'A' wins by 38 runs(Parabola Method)|
Despite the fact that the local side had been eliminated, a strong holiday crowd gathered to watch the final between the two traditional rivals of the region. They saw plenty of good cricket, but unfortunately late afternoon rain spoiled an exciting finish. The Pak side won the toss and decided to bat first. The Indian new ball bowlers Debashish Mohanty and Arindam Sarkar struck early blows to leave the opposition struggling at 29/2. The Pak captain started the recovery sharing 41 for the 3rd wicket with Akhtar Sarfraz (31). The Pak captain went on to score 91, but he goot little support from the middle order. Only Mujahid Jamshed with 26 stood firm. Pakistan lost their last 6 wickets for only 62 runs as off spinner Noel David and the most successful bowler of the tournament Harvinder Singh destroyed the lower oorder. The Paks batted for only 43.2 overs.
In reply, the India 'A' got off to a solid start, as their opening pair of Wasim Jaffer and Gagan Khoda defied the new ball attack of Aaqib Javed and Mohammad Zahid. The openrers, However, failed to convert starts into scores. The skipper, Amay Khurasiya, batting at No. 3, made 27, but the introduction of Azhar Mahmood into the bowling changed the course of the game. Fromn 69/1, India 'A' slumped to 112/5. The run out of Sairaj Bahutule didn't help their. Still they faniced their chances with S. Sarath at the wicket. But the weather had the last say, and according to the Parabola method, Pakistan'A' were declared the winners. Asif Mujtaba was adjudged the player of the Final.
Top batsmen of the tournament (80 or more runs)
|S. Sarath (Ind)||3||99||99.00||64*||1|
|Ruwan Kalpage (SL)||2||85||85.00||54||1|
|Naveed Nawaz (SL)||2||94||47.00||88||1|
|Basit Ali (Pak)||3||90||45.00||67||1|
|Asif Mujtaba (Pak)||4||179||44.75||91||2|
|Sanwar Hossain (Ban)||2||89||44.50||76||1|
|Akhtar Sarfraz (Pak)||4||133||44.33||64*||1|
|Aminul Islam (Ban)||2||83||41.50||78||1|
|Akram Khan (Ban)||3||87||29.00||54||1|
Note:The Bangladesh middle order batsman Minhajul Abedin played in only one game, and scored 53, thus finishing with an average of 53.00
Top bowlers of the tournament (5 or more wickets)
|Harvinder Singh (Ind)||3||131||12||10.91||6/43|
|Dulip Liyanage (SL)||2||64||5||12.80||4/42|
|Aaqib Javed (Pak)||4||91||6||15.16||4/17|
|Mohammad Zahid (Pak)||3||107||6||17.83||3/36|
|Azhar Mahmood (Pak)||4||96||5||19.20||3/30|
|Mohammad Hussain (Pak)||4||97||5||19.40||2/11|
Top all-rounder of the tournament
|Mohammad Hussain (Pak)||4||76||25.33||51||1||97||5||19.40||2/11|
1) The Sri Lanka 'A' team achieved their first and only victory in SAARC Quadrangular history by beating Bangladesh by 5 wickets.
2) The Pak team was unusually generous in giving extra runs. In total, they gave away 120 extras (71 wides, 28 No balls, 28 leg byes and 2 Byes). This a record for the SAARC Quadrangular.