WAPDA set for SNGPL challenge

Naved confident of upsetting star-studded outfit in President’s Cup final today.

Rafatullah, 36, hit his third century of the tournament to help Wapda book a place in the final. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS


The star-studded SNGPL side will clash with Wapda in the final of the President’s Cup one-day tournament today after the latter registered a convincing win over NBP in their last-four encounter.

The result of the second semi-final promptly made Wapda captain and all-rounder Rana Navedul Hasan commence a war of words with his opposite number, SNGPL captain Misbahul Haq, as the intensity surrounding the final increased.

While SNGPL boast of several players with international experience including Misbah, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Azhar Ali, Taufeeq Umar, Adnan Akmal among others, Naved said his team’s combination makes his side a strong contender.

“SNGPL is a strong side but we’re capable enough to beat them,” Naved told The Express Tribune. “I’ve been playing for Wapda for almost eight years now and I’ve never seen our top-order gel together as well as it has in this tournament. If they can fire in one more match, the title could be ours.”

The captain’s confidence is supported by the runs his batsmen have accumulated in the tournament. Opener Rafatullah Mohmand is leading the batting charts with 418 runs, while Sohaib Maqsood (370), Hafiz Saad Nasim (217) and Aamer Sajjad (199) have made more than useful contributions.

The medium pacer singled out Maqsood as a match-winner, comparing him to the legendary Inzamamul Haq for his ability to see off the game.

“Maqsood is a class act who deserves a national call-up. He should be given a chance to prove his credentials. He’s a finisher who is comfortable even when the team is chasing high target, a trait which Inzamam had.”

It has also been learnt that the selection committee is looking to name Maqsood in the 30-man preliminary squad as a replacement for Umar Gul who was ruled out of the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy.

Rafatullah hits third ton as Wadpa thrash NBP

Meanwhile, the second semi-final saw Wapda down NBP by a convincing margin of 119 runs to send out a reminder to SNGPL.

While NBP opted to field at the National Stadium, the decision backfired as Wapda accumulated a competitive 330 for five on the board.  NBP were then bowled out for 211 in the 41st over with Junaid Khan picking up four wickets.

However, the star of the show was batsman Rafatullah once again as his purple patch continued in the tournament. The right-hander hit a superb 115, an innings that was laced with 16 boundaries and a six.

The 36-year-old put on 135 for the opening wicket with Saad (57). Maqsood then gave the innings a final impetus with a well-made 68 before Mohammad Ayub (37) and Sajjad (31) ensured Wapda cross 300.

In reply, the NBP side had no answer to the pace of Junaid as the left-armer finished with four for 36. Nasir Malik finished with two for 18.

Fawad Alam was the lone batsman to offer any resistance and top-scored with a 58-ball 60.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2013.


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