By Umair Ghani
For four successive years Chicago United has appeared in the finals of BPL’s Pepsi Bash and emerged victorious on three occasions. In the recently concluded 2019 Pepsi Bash T20 finals, the ‘Men in Red’ of Chicago United (CU) earned the prestigious championship undefeated!
Throughout the tourney, CU’s path to the finals was well challenged by opposing teams, so did the other finalist Deccan Mavericks. Putting CU to field, Deccan got off to a strong start with the bat, however CU’s lead bowling attack of Ahmed Askari and Altaf Quadri in the first ten overs controlled the runs, keeping it under 70. Kamran Syed and Fahad Babar were very economical with the ball in the next ten overs. Samir Chaudhri (56 off 41) and Wayne Dickson (22 off 14) led the batting charts for Deccan. Ovais (12 off 3) made an impact to put Deccan score at 157.
Going into bat under floodlights, CU openers Yaseen Sheikh and Kamran Syed got off to an impressive start. Farhan A picked up both the openers at 52/2 in the sixth over. Najam and Shayan wickets were quickly taken in one over by Moin B, to stress the CU batting lineup. However the experienced Fahad Babar (36 off 34) demonstrated his maturity with the bat and stroked the ball around, building a 98-run fifth wicket partnership with the dangerous batsman Hasan Bemat.
Hasan initially kept the ball on the ground with his classic flicks and drives, but soon realizing the unusual thick uncut grass s was slowing down the scoring rate, he decided to go arial and basaltic. The man and his willow were a delight to watch as he pumped in 65 runs off 33 balls. He effortlessly and stylishly timed the ball for several straight huge maximums. Skipper Sami M. Khan’s batsmen wrapped up with a dominating six wicket win in the 18th over.
At the closing ceremony, several awards were given away. The ‘BatSixMan’ for most 6’s went to Samir Chaudhri, Fahad Babar MVP, the Best Bowler Award went to Ali Farooqi, and Hasan Bemat was adjudged ‘Man of the Match’.
Andrew an ICC official present, addressed the audience, and presented the trophies to the runner-up and champions. It was a night to remember, indeed.