Shpageeza Cricket League is Afghanistan’s official franchise cricket league played once in every year. ICC regonsizes this league as a Twenty20 status which means that the runs, wickets, average, best scores. etc are added to the individual player records.
The tournament is played in a window of 12 days either during September or October.
The SCL was started in the year 2013 by the Afghanistan Cricket Board. This tournament was established to promote cricket in the country and develop the quality of cricket played in Afghanistan.
This league has produced talented players like Gulbadin Naib and Noor ali Zadran, who went on to represent Afghanistan’s national side in World Cups.
The first edition had 5 teams in total which represent different regions of Afghanistan. In the 3rd edition, an additional team which represented the country’s capital called Kabul Eagles was formed.
The RTA and RTA Sports have won the broadcasting rights in 2019 and 2020 for telecasting this league. This tournament is commercialised with advertisements and sponsors to increase its reach not only in Afghanistan but also in the other parts of the world.
The upcoming Shpageeza Cricket League is scheduled to happen in October 2021. However the mega-event World T20 clashes with the SCL in the same month. Hence ACB might either postpone the SCL-2021 or postpone to next year.
The matches are played in a single round-robin format, where each team plays another team once. So, each team will play 5 matches with a total of 15 league stage matches.
They are four Knockout matches –
- Qualifier 1 – The team placed in the top-2 position will play the qualifier 1. The winner will go through the final while the loser will stay back to play the Qualifier 2.
- Eliminator – The team placed in the 3rd and 4th position will play the eliminator. The winner will play the qualifier 2 and the loser will be eliminated.
- Qualifier 2 – The loser of qualifier 1 and winner of Eliminator will play the qualifier 2. The winner will qualify for the final
- Final – Winner of qualifier 1 and 2 will play the final. The winner will finally win the title.
Teams Participating in this league –
A total of 6 teams are participating in this league. Spin Ghar Tigers are inaugural winners of SCL, while Kabul Eagles are the defending champions (winners of 2020 – previous edition). Mis Ainak Knights are the most successful team of SCL. They have reached the final 5 times out of which they have won 2 times.
The teams of SCL are as follows:
1. Kabul Eagles –
Formed in 2015, the Kabul Eagles are the join-most successful teams of Shpageeza Cricket League. They have won two titles (2016, 2020) so far in the 5 editions, they appeared so far.
Being the capital city, the Kabul Eagles play their home matches in the Alokozay Kabul International Cricket Stadium of capacity 6000. Rahmanullah Gurbaz is currently the skipper of this side and Gus Logie is the coach of Eagles.
This team is owned by a 41-year old Afgan Cricketer Abdul Latif Ayoubi. In 2020, he has also represented the Eagles as a player by bowling one over and conceding 16 runs for his side.
2. Amo Sharks –
The Amo Sharks is a team named after the river Amo, which flows in the central part of Asia. They made their debut in 2013, and are yet to win a Shpageeza title.
Amo Sharks is the team which covers the regions of Kandahar, Helmand, Herat, Farah, Ghor, Badghis, Urozgan, Nimroz, Zabul. With a seating capacity of 14,00, Kandahar International Cricket Stadium in Kandahar is the home ground of Amo Sharks.
Right arm fast bowler Mirwais Ashraf is the captain of this side and Gordon Parsons is the coach. This team is owned by Al-Masafi Group which is an international trading and contracting company based at Kuwait.
3. Band-e-Amir Dragons –
Band-e-Amir Dragons is a team named after Band-e-Amir which is a series of six deep blue lakes in Bamyan Province. The Dragons won their only and maiden title in the year 2017 by defeating Mis Ainak Knights in the final.
Band-e-Amir Dragons represent the regions of central Afghanistan – Ghazni, Bamyan, Parwan, Panjshir, Daykundi, and Wardak. The Dragons are based at Ghazni Cricket Ground, Ghazni.
Number one T20I ranked bowler, Rashid Khan is the captain of the Dragons. Umesh Patwal who had also coached Afghanistan’s national team is the coach of Dragons. International Professional Congress Organizer – the Paragon Group owns this team.
4. Boost Defenders –
The Boost Defenders is a team named after Bost which was historically named as Lashkargah city in Helmand Province. The Boost Defenders belong to the provinces of south and west of Afghanistan which include the regions – Kandahar, Helmand, Herat, Farah, Ghor, Badghis, Urozgan, Nimroz and Zabul.
Boost Defenders are one among the two teams which are yet to win a SCL title. Allrounder Gulbadin Naib is the skipper of the Defenders and Adam Hollioake is the coach of the side.
Afghanistan’s Telecommunications Services Company based at Kabul called the Arif Azim group owns the Boost Defenders. The Defenders are based at Kandahar International Cricket Stadium, whose seating capacity is 14,000.
5. Mis Ainak Knights
Mis Ainak Knights is a SCL franchisee named after Mes Aynak, which is an archaeological site in Logar Province. The Mis Ainak Knights team comes under the south capital of Kabul which covers the regions of Khost, Logar, Paktia and Paktika.
Mis Ainak Knights have won two titles of SCL making them one of the successful teams of SCL. They were also the runners-up of the previous edition (2020). The Knights are based at Khost Cricket Stadium (home venue) whose seating capacity is 6000.
Tall fast bowler Shapoor zadran is the captain of Knights and England’s former cricketer Andy Moles is the coach. The Wazirzai group Ltd has owned this team since 2013.
6. Spin Ghar Tigers
Spin Ghar Tigers belong to the eastern parts of Afghanistan, which include regions like Nangarhar, Laghman, Kapisa, Kunar and Nuristan. They are named after Spin Ghar, which is a mountain range region.
Spin Ghar Tigers have dominated initial seasons of SCL as they have two titles in three years. Their home ground is at Ghazi Amanullah International Cricket Stadium, in Jalalabad whose seating capacity is 14,000.
Wicket-keeper batsman Shafiqullah is the current captain of the side and Riaz Afridi is the coach. The tigers are owned by the Muslimyar Group.
Winners by Editions / Years
|1||Spin Ghar Tigers||Band-e-Amir Dragons||2013|
|2||Mis Ainak Knights||Band-e-Amir Dragons||2014|
|3||Spin Ghar Tigers||Kabul Eagles||2015|
|4||Kabul Eagles||Mis Ainak Knights||2016|
|5||Band-e-Amir Dragons||Mis Ainak Knights||2017|
|DID NOT HAPPEN||2018|
|6||Mis Ainak Knights||Band-e-Amir Dragons||2019|
|7||Kabul Eagles||Mis Ainak Knights||2020|
Top-10 run-getters of 2020 Season
|Noor Ali Zadran||222|
Top-10 Wicket-Takers (2020 season)