We kept our belief: PTI owner

April 07, 2019

Victorious Passage to India (PTI) Restaurant players and officials pose for a group photo after winning the Oman Cricket Premier League title at Amerat recently

An amazing turnaround by Passage to India (PTI) Restaurant saw the former champion claim the prestigious 2018-19 Oman Cricket Premier League (50-over format) title recently.

At the start of the final round of the five-team Premier League, PTI trailed the leader, Assarain, by eight points. But a successful run of four wins, capped by its nine-wicket win over Enhance in the concluding match, capped PTI’s streak to be crowned champion for the second time.

PTI ended its league campaign with nine wins to garner 36 points from 12 games to dethrone last year's champion, Assarain. Runner-up Assarain had eight victories for its 32 points while Al Turki NMC was third (20) from its five wins and edged Muscat CT (20) on better net run-rate. Al Turki had a NRR of +0.137 as compared to Muscat's -0.518. Enhance settled for a wooden spoon with three wins and 12 points.

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PTI's three national team players in strokeful Aqib Ilyas and two medium pacers – Bilal Khan and Ahmad Fayyaz Butt - excelled in the concluding game as Ilyas hammered a half-century (68 n.o. off 35 balls) while Butt (3-20) and Khan (3-22) shared six wickets between them. Enhance was bowled out for paltry 101 and PTI raced to target in 12 overs.

PTI, which had the honour of winning the maiden title of the revamped Premier League in 2016, not only comprises a bunch of gritty players but is also led by a determined team owner, K K Mohandas, who knows well what he's after.

In his exclusive remarks to Muscat Daily, after the title-triumph, he said, “It was an astonishing turnaround by my team. We were trailing by eight points at the start of final round. But I had the belief in our players and, they too, kept the belief in themselves to win the next four games on a trot.

“This is how championship is won and it showed the character of the team. The players’ never-say-die spirit stood out and that was one of the main reasons that they could make such a comeback this season. I am so proud of them.”

Former Oman opener and now the team coach-cum-player, Zeeshan Sidiqqui, said, “The whole journey to the title was wonderful and a new experience for me in the dual role. The support of our team owner, [K K Mohandas], has been crucial in keeping the morale of the players high and it is always great to see his passion for the game It rubs on all our players.”

The team’s long-serving captain, Syed Aamir Kaleem, admitted that despite 'the not so good start to the season, the team managed to work its way to the title'.

“We worked very hard on our shortcomings and came back strongly in the last round,” said Kaleem. The skipper added, “The support of our management and our team owner has been exceptional and is one of the key reasons for our title win.”

Brief scores: Enhance 101 all out in 31.2 overs (Khan 3-22, Butt 3-20, Hafeez Ur Rahman 2-25) lost to Passage to India 102-1 in 11.5 overs (Ilyas 68 n.o.).