KARACHI: Pakistan international Asad Shafiq’s unbeaten 92 helped steer Karachi Whites into the finals of the National T20 Cup, upsetting two-time defending champions Peshawar with an eight-wicket win.
Peshawar looked the favourites at the halfway stage, having scored 178-7 courtesy of some lusty blows at the end of the innings, but Karachi Whites reached the target with 10 balls to spare.
The chase had not started as planned, with Rameez Raja Junior being dismissed for just nine. Shafiq joined opener Zain Abbas out in the middle with the score at 13-1 but the two took the game away from Peshawar with a counter-attacking 141-run stand.
Shafiq starred with 92 runs off 55 balls but he was well supported by Abbas, whose 45-ball 59 ensured runs continued to flow from both ends.
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None of Peshawar’s bowlers troubled the Karachi Whites batsmen, with Waqas Maqsood being the only one of the seven bowlers used by Peshawar skipper Zohaib Khan to claim a wicket.
Earlier in the day, Peshawar were put in to bat and endured a difficult start, falling to 50-3 in the eighth over and 106-6 in the 16th. However, Iftikhar Ahmed (78 off 53 balls) accelerated to devastating effect at the end for Peshawar. Ahmed was helped out by quick-fire cameos by Fakhar Zaman (23 off 13 balls) and Anwar Ali (24 off 13 balls).
Peshawar skipper Zohaib Khan congratulated the Karachi Whites team but also praised his own players.
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“They had reduced us to 106-6 first but we were able to put up a good total,” he said. “Then Shafiq and Abbas did the business for them.”
Zohaib felt the Karachi side’s superior start to the game helped them. “They were the ones who had the better top-order partnerships,” he pointed out. “We lost our batmen quickly while Karachi Whites were able to put together a strong stand.”
Winning captain Akbarur Rehman was understandably with his side’s performance, and the way Shafiq played. “It was an even game; they put up a good total but we have chased a high total before and we knew we could do it again,” said Rehman. “We also had the experienced Shafiq to guide us.”
Karachi Whites claim vital win
And Rehman is already looking forward to the final. “We are ready for the final. We will play positive cricket and try to win the trophy,” he added
Man of the match Shafiq was happy with the way the innings panned out. “We felt that if we had a good start then it will help the middle order but luckily we were able to reach the target with eight wickets remaining,” he said. “I always try to perform in all formats of the game and I am glad to do so in the shortest format today.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2016.
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