KARACHI: Karachi Blues and Sialkot will face off in the five-day final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy which is likely to be held at the Gaddafi Stadium after both teams topped their respective pools in the Super-Eight stage.
Shoaib Malik once again came to Sialkot’s aid by putting up an all-round show in a must-win game as they beat hosts Rawalpindi by an innings and 60 runs at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.
Sialkot started the day on 433 for four and declared their innings on 563 for seven as Ayub Doggar top-scored with 160 while Malik made 152.
Set a target of 270, Rawalpindi were bundled out for 209 as Malik ran through their batting with a five-wicket haul as he took his match tally to eight victims while Bilawal Bhatti again picked up three wickets.
The win gave Sialkot maximum nine points and they ended up with 15 points while Rawalpindi ended second with 12 in group A.
Meanwhile, Khalid Latif and Fawad Alam scored timely centuries to help Karachi Whites post a strong reply after being forced to follow-on by Islamabad at the Diamond Ground.
Whites were all out for 209 while replying to 414 after resuming the day on 166 for four.
Trailing by 205, Whites posted 261 for two in the second-innings as Latif was unbeaten on 104 hitting three sixes and nine fours while Alam was undefeated on 109 with 11 strikese. Whites had built a slender lead of 56 runs at the close of play.
Akbar takes control of batting chart
Karachi Blues all-rounder Akbarur Rehman, who has been touted as the next big all-rounder emerging from domestic cricket, played a 47-run knock to top the batting charts and help his team cruise to an eight-wicket win against Lahore Ravi at the Gaddafi Stadium.
Set a target of 120, Blues made 121 for two with Fakhar Zaman remaining not out on 61 while Akbar made 47 with a six and five fours which took his run-tally to 798 with a staggering average of 79.80.
Akbar has been highly rated due to his overall performance as he can bowl decent leg-spin while he can bowl medium-pace as well.
The 29-year-old has taken 19 wickets in the event while he has 59 first-class wickets to his name as well as he continues to blossom.
“Akbar is a top-class package who can certainly add value to the Pakistan team,” Blues coach and former player Azam Khan told The Express Tribune. “There isn’t a player of Akbar’s quality right now as he has scored runs on every position while he has taken wickets both with slow and fast bowling. He may be the answer to Pakistan’s problem of finding a top all-rounder.”
Lahore Shalimar were seeking a win against Hyderabad but it won’t matter now since Blues, who have 27 points, are through.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2013.
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