KARACHI: Seasoned campaigner Hasan Raza scored a crucial unbeaten half-century to help HBL defeat PQA by 14 runs in their Ramazan T20 Cup semi-final at the National Stadium.
Batting first, HBL were reduced to 30 for four at one stage as they were rocked by paceman Mohammad Talha, who took three of the four wickets to fall. But Raza, who contributed a 42-ball 58 with the help of two sixes and five boundaries, once again came to their rescue, taking them to 148 for seven in 20 overs.
Kamran Hussain played a 30-run cameo, while Humayun Farhat chipped in with 22.
Off-spinner Tabish claimed two wickets including the prized scalp of Younus Khan, who was dismissed for eight.
In reply, PQA got off to a quick start but failed to capitalise as they could only make 134 for nine in their quota. Khalid Latif top-scored with 34, hitting four boundaries, while Sarmad Anwar claimed three wickets.
HBL will now face PIA in the final of the tournament.
The teams have been challenging for honours and have often faced each other in title showdowns.
However, the build-up to the match has been marred by allegations of ball tampering, pitch tampering, and favourable umpiring.
There was also a major controversy when the two sides met in their Group A encounter. PIA chased a mammoth target of 181 after third umpire Sajid Afridi adjudged a legitimate delivery a no-ball at a crucial moment which ultimately led to HBL’s loss. HBL captain Younus registered a protest against the decision and even threatened to pull off his troops out of the ground.
In addition, five penalty runs were awarded by the on-field umpire to PIA as he felt HBL’s Fahad Masood had run onto the danger area of the pitch.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2013.
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