The current J&K U-23 team have etched their name into history by winning the U-23 One Day League after beating Punjab in the final in Himachal Pradesh. Fazil Rashid played another match-winning knock for J&K making sure that his team crossed the finish line with 3 wickets to spare.
Senior selectors of the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) including Chairman Ashwani Gupta, Zahoor Bhat, Vivek Sharma, Arshid Bhat, and Pradeep Bali came under severe scrutiny as they were accused of nepotism while picking the squad for the One Day league.
En route to the last fixture, the J&K U-23 team beat Delhi in the opening match of the league by 5 wickets in a thrilling encounter. They followed that win by a narrow victory versus hosts Himachal Pradesh by 2 runs. They beat a balanced Haryana side in the next match by 3 wickets as they awaited Punjab in what would be a clash between the top two teams in the league.
It was the fourth straight win for J&K in the event and they topped the points table of North Zone group with 16 points as Punjab ended the competition at second place with 10 points.
Batting first, Punjab put up a competitive total of 210 runs in 45.2 overs. Team Skipper Karan Kaila top scored with 59 runs off 56 balls, which included 4 boundaries. As Abhinav Sharma, N Choudhary and AR Malhotra whipped in with scores of 37, 22 and 20 runs respectively, Punjab had a good shot at winning the title. For J&K, off-spinner Paras Sharma was the pick of the bowlers, who scalped 4 important wickets as he conceded 42 runs in 8.2 overs.
In reply, J&K chased the target in a close contest in 49.3 overs, losing 7 wickets in the process. Wicketkeeper-batsman Fazil Rashid played a heroic knock once again just like he had in all the three outings earlier. He emerged as the hero for the J&K team scoring a superb 59 runs off 70 balls. Mohammad Hazik Bhat scored 44 runs off 80 balls including 6 boundaries, while Auqib Nabi contributed unbeaten 33 off 36 balls. Karan Kaila chipped in with the ball as he picked up two wickets for Punjab.
The Jammu and Kashmir team was accompanied by Fayaz Hazare as manager, Sameer Khajuria as Head coach,