In a most befitting highlight to the mounting World Cup fever, Serena Hotels hosted their first annual cricket tournament 2015 under the umbrella of “Sports Diplomacy Initiative”.
The participants included teams of Indian, Australian, British, Sri Lankan and Bangladesh high commissions and the Afghan embassy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and Serena Hotels.
Following the qualifying matches on Saturday at the Marghazar Cricket Ground, Saidpur, Sunday morning began with the first 12-over semi-final between Serena Hotels and the PAF.
Serena won the toss and decided to field first but the inning was dominantly led by the PAF team who gave a strong 145 to chase and eventually qualified for the finals.
The second semi-final was played between the teams of Afghan Embassy and the Indian High Commission. The young Afghans gave quite a run to the more experienced Indian players, and won by 36 runs.
In the final, PAF won the toss and decided to bat. They scored 106 runs in the 15-over match which saw a nail biting chase in the second innings. Afghanistan played spectacularly against PAF’s strong contenders and won the tournament with three wickets.
Afghan Ambassador Janan Mosazai spoke about the passion of the game, saying sports play a vital role in creating harmony in society by bringing people together.
Serena Hotels CEO Aziz Boolani said “This tournament reiterates our objective of establishing the Serena Hotels Sports Diplomacy Initiative which encourages and promotes healthy activities between various segments of society to enhance social well-being and cultural development.
It is heartening to see the response especially from our diplomatic and media friends and we look forward to welcoming everybody at the hotel for our World Cup Cricket Campaign in collaboration with the Australian High Commission.”
Ambassadors and high commissioners of England, Australia, Argentina, the European Union, Austria, France, Czech Republic, Morocco, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Bosnia, Spain, Poland and Hungary were also present to watch.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2015.
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