HBL triumph in thrilling final

Edge past PIA to clinch Ramazan T20 Cup.

Nabeel Hashmi July 26, 2013
HBL and PIA, the two top teams in the competition, gave fans a lot to cheer about by fighting it out in the Super Over. PHOTO: PCB

KARACHI: HBL clinched a thrilling victory against PIA, edging past their opponents in the Super Over eliminator to be declared winners of the Advance Telecom Ramazan T20 Cup.

Imran Farhat helped HBL achieve the eight-run target in just three balls of the Super Over delivered by fast-bowler Aizaz Cheema.

The winners bagged Rs2 million in prize, while the runners-up finished with Rs1 million.

Chasing a 159-run target in front of nearly 8,000 fans, PIA were pegged back by three early wickets. However, important contributions from Faisal Iqbal (42) and Sheryar Ghani (23) stabilised the innings.

A late-innings cameo by Sarfraz Ahmed, who scored 30 off 15 balls, and Anwar Ali, who made 17 off eight, helped PIA tie the score, taking the match to the Super Over.

Earlier, HBL were indebted to man-of-the-final Imran Farhat’s whirlwind 36-ball 65, which included three sixes and seven boundaries, that took HBL to 158 all out in 20 overs. Salman Saeed claimed three wickets, while Shoaib Malik and Ghulam Mohammad grabbed two wickets apiece.

Younus calls for lengthier T20 tournaments

The 20-day T20 extravaganza, however, prompted HBL captain Younus Khan to call for longer tournaments.

The former Pakistan captain said that lengthier events will enable players to showcase their talent properly and help them recover in case of failure in a few games.

“It has been an amazing tournament, but I believe we need longer events to provide enough chances for players to perform,” said Younus.

“It has been a great win for HBL especially because we didn’t have several of our main players, but the way the seniors and youngsters stepped up was definitely pleasing.”

Meanwhile, PIA captain Malik said his side was unfortunate.

“PIA fought really well, but in the end we were just unlucky,” said Malik. “Such tournaments are important where departments vie with each other, and these should be held on a regular basis.”

‘Anwar can represent national side’

Former cricketers, who witnessed the final, lauded fast-bowler Anwar Ali’s performance, saying he had the mettle to become a genuine all-rounder.

“We’ve been unable to replace Abdul Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood because they were world-class all-rounders,” said one of the former players. “But today, Anwar showed that he has the ability to step up and fill those big boots since he bowls well and his batting has improved as well.”

A selection committee member added that they Anwar was a part of the national squads on many occasions.

“Anwar can be a genuine all-rounder,” said the committee member. “But Misbahul Haq has not given him a chance and his career is being affected.”

HBL, PIA fined for slow over-rates

Both finalists were also fined for slow over-rates with PIA sanctioned Rs15,000 and HBL penalised Rs20,000 respectively.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2013.

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