Tuesday 26 July 2022 saw the first instalment of the newly created Al-Murad Cup – a new, yearly cup game between Yorkshire U12s and Warwickshire U12s. The cup has been created in partnership with Performance Pathway sponsors, Al-Murad Group, who generously support the Performance Pathway and help provide playing kit, free of charge, to all Yorkshire representative players, among other things.

The game began under grey skies, at the historic Bradford Park Avenue ground. With the forecast looking less than friendly for later in the day, it was agreed that a 35 over game would be played. Yorkshire skipper Safiullah Abrar won the toss and elected to bowl first. Wickets came steadily for Yorkshire, with many of the Warwickshire batters getting starts, before being unable to go on. A couple of rain delays came mid-innings, which threatened the game. But, thanks to some amazing work from the Bradford Park Avenue grounds staff and a determined attitude from both teams, the game continued. The visitors were ultimately all out for 125 in the 30th over, with young Rehan Kiriella (3-23) the pick of the bowlers on his Yorkshire debut!

With the rain again threatening and time looking limited, Yorkshire openers Rehan Kiriella (24) and Safiullah Abrar got off to a very positive start and were soon on 48 before Kiriella fell. The scoring rate slowed in the middle of the innings, but Abrar was still in and closing in on his 50. Following a 47-run partnership with Max Carrington (13), a flurry of wickets fell with the overs ticking away and the required rate now around a run a ball. Safiullah ran superbly with support from the middle order, before Amod Karunaratne (5*) hit the winning runs with just seven balls and four wickets to spare! Skipper Safiullah Abrar, unbeaten on 64*, claimed a very well deserved Most Valuable Player award, as voted for by Yorkshire and Warwickshire coaches.

The Al-Murad Cup was presented to Yorkshire by the Al-Murad family and it was fantastic that Mr Murad Senior, who has led the business for over four decades, had personally made the time to support this initiative and be on hand to present the trophy and meet the players. Our gracious thanks go to Al-Murad Group for their kind support and for sponsoring an excellent game – with next year’s game set to be hosted by Warwickshire.

James Martin, Yorkshire’s Head of Boys Performance Pathway, said “It was great to be able to entertain our amazing sponsors from Al-Murad and showcase what our Performance Pathway is all about. The support they have provided this year has allowed us to provide so much more for those on our Pathway and I am so glad our players made the occasion one to remember with a fantastic game of cricket! We’re already really looking forward to next year’s Al-Murad Cup in Warwickshire!”

Abdul A Ravat, who helped secure the partnership between Al-Murad Group and YCCC, was present at the event had the following to say:

“On behalf of the Al-Murad Group & Family, the inaugural Al-Murad Cup was a huge success and our congratulations on Yorkshire’s success. The partnership with the Pathway programme at YCCC seeks to ensure that we can remove economic and practical barriers so that real talent from young cricketers of different communities, ethnicities and backgrounds can have an equitable opportunity to succeed and develop a long-lasting love of cricket. We are looking forward to the returning fixture next year already!”

Maroof Khan, Business Development Director at Yorkshire CCC said: “We are extremely grateful for the contribution from Al-Murad Group to our Pathway in Yorkshire. Our growing Pathway programme is always in need of generous sponsors like them to help ensure that the great work that has been started here reaches all it needs to. Al-Murad have been superb, and I would love to chat to other like-minded sponsors who would be interested in supporting fantastic initiatives like this. This is a massive step in the right direction.”

You can view the scorecard from the game by clicking here.

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