STANDARD Chartered Bank have lifted the Bahrain Cricket League (BCL) Golden League title following their 26-run victory over Behbehani Kuwait in the grand final.
Played out at the Awali Oval, this entertaining clash provided a fitting end to what has been a lengthy campaign for all involved.
Winning the toss and electing to bat, Standard Chartered ran unto some early trouble as they lost five wickets inside the first nine overs with only 68 runs up on the scoreboard.
Guruprasad Shetty (20) and captain Naveen Shetty (17) got off to promising starts but were dismissed without really hitting top form and it wasn't until the sixth-wicket partnership of Suraj and Ganesh Shetty that the score started to build.
With the bowling of the likes Rashid Niazi and Mohamed Tajamul causing problems, the wickets continued to fall at regular intervals but crucially for Standard Chartered, Ganesh Shetty stood firm to compile a highly useful 43 off 33 deliveries.
In the end, the bankers finished on a respectable 158-all-out in their 20 overs, with Niazi claiming three wickets and Rizwan and Fakhr Shah a pair each, to set their opponents a target of eight runs per over.
Heading into the final in fine form, the Behbehani boys would have been confident of chasing down the target on the quick outfield of the Awali Oval but were dealt a double-whammy early on as they lost openers Tajamul (9) and Majid Rashid (13) with just 36 on the board in the fifth over.
Noushad and Rizwan entered the fray to steady the ship but the latter was removed for just 12 runs by Suraj Shetty and his replacement Fakhr Shah didn't last long either thanks to a great catch by Asif Abdul-Rauf off the bowling of Sreenath Shetty.
That wicket triggered a collapse of sorts for Behbehani, as they went on to lose the next five wickets for the addition of just 27 and were eventually all-out for 132.
Noushad finished as top-scorer on 32, while Sreenath Shetty took three wickets and Burhan and Suraj Shetty two each.
The presentation of the Golden League trophy was carried out following the close of play in the presence of BCL vice president Rehan Ashraf, Awali Cricket Club president David Starkie, Behbehani Motors general manager and chief guest Peter Green and i-Point manager and chief guest Varghese Mathew.
Also during the ceremony, Suraj Shetty was declared the man of the match for his all-round performance in the final, while Fakhr Shah won the best all-rounder award for the tournament, Muhammad Shahbaz of E&Y the best batsman award, Abdul-Rauf the best fielder award and Sherjeel Arshad (Ambassadar CC) and Shoaib Ahmed (Haq CC) shared the best bowler award.
SCORES IN BRIEF:
Standard Chartered Bank: 158 all-out in 20 overs (Ganesh Shetty 43, Suraj Shetty 25).
Behbehani bowlers: Rizwan Anwar 2/31, Rashid Niazi 3/25, Fakhr Shah 2/30.
Behbehani Kuwait: 132 for 9 in 20 overs (Noushad Malik 32, Fakhr Shah 19).
Standard Chartered bowlers: Suraj Shetty 2/24, Sreenath Shetty 3/26, Burhan 2/25.