The Australian Over 50s cricket team secured a thrilling victory in the Over 50s World Cup against Pakistan recently, thanks in large to skipper Peter Solway.
Solway, who is a legend of Queanbeyan and ACT cricket, scored 366 runs at an average of 183 throughout the tournament, and was key to Australia’s success.
The final against Pakistan was preceded by group matches against Canada, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and South Africa, and a semi-final against New Zealand once again.
The grand final went down to the wire, with Pakistan losing by three runs in a low-scoring affair at Sydney’s Drummoyne Oval.
The Pakistan side, which boasted ex-internationals such as Shahid Anwar, Ijaz Ahmed, and Sajid Ali, had a strong top five and a battery of wily spinners at their disposal, and managed to restrict Australia to 165 batting first.
The final was the only match in which Solway didn’t fire, but his rare miss was supplemented by solid innings of 44 from Tony Clark, 33 from Joseph Santostefano, and 25 from Todd O’Keefe.
Pakistan stumbled early in their run chase, falling to 9-94, but were resurrected courtesy of a last-wicket stand of 68 between Babar Butt (46) and Ahmed (28 not out).
Right as the Australians were beginning to despair and Pakistan were readying for a raucous celebration, Australian opener John Short (3-27), who was the standout bowler for the home side, trapped Butt lbw and brought the match to a heart-stopping end.
It was a scintillating finish to the first ever Over 50s World Cup, and one that has left tournament organisers eager to promote the next edition, which is set to take place in South Africa in 2020.
Following the “phenomenal success” of the inaugural World Cup, organisers said on the event’s Facebook page that “the 2020 Over-50s World Cup promises to be another fantastic event, with the best over-50s cricketers in the world competing hard on the field and enjoying each other's company off it.”
The event is set to take place in March of 2020, and Australia can only hope that Solway is still wielding the willow when the tournament rolls around.