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Sindh aims for fourth domestic title

  • Pakistan Cup semi-finals on Friday and Saturday with the final on Sunday

Karachi, 28 January 2021: The semi-finals of the Pakistan Cup One-Day Tournament 2020-21, powered by Servis Tyres, will be played at the State Bank Stadium on Friday and Saturday, with the winners going head to head on Sunday at the same venue.

After 30 round matches, Sindh finished on top of the table with seven wins, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was second with six wins. Northern and Central Punjab recorded five wins apiece, but Northern finished above Central Punjab on net run-rate.

As such, in first semi-final on Friday, Sindh will take on Central Punjab while the following day, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will lock horns with Northern. Both contests will start at 0930 PST, and will be produced live by the PCB for PTV Sports and its YouTube Channel.

In the seven men’s domestic events held to date since the season commenced on 30 September 2020, Sindh has won three competitions – National U19 three-day and one-day tournaments, and Second XI Quaid-e-Azam Trophy – while Central Punjab (Second XI National T20 Cup), Southern Punjab (Second XI Pakistan Cup) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (First XI National T20 Cup) have clinched one title each.

The first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final was tied after Central Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ended up on even scores and equal points.

Sindh v Central Punjab

In the first round match between the two sides, Sindh inflicted a crushing six wickets defeat on Central Punjab when they achieved the 288-run target with 19 balls to spare. Khurram Manzoor led Sindh’s charge when he scored 119 and added 108 runs for the second wicket with Saud Shakeel (58).

In the return match, Central Punjab came back strongly when they chased down the 278-run target for the loss of six wickets in 48.3 overs. Khurram scored 143, but his efforts were overshadowed by half-centuries from Tayyab Tahir (93) and Raza Ali Dar (71) along with useful contributions from Qasim Akram (44 not out), Zafar Gohar (28 not out) and Usman Salahuddin (27).

For Sindh, Khurram Manzoor has been their star batsman, having scored 567 runs in 10 matches with three centuries and two half-centuries. He has received good support from Asad Shafiq (337 runs), Danish Aziz (292 runs) and Hassan Khan (254 runs). Amongst the bowlers, Mohammad Umar leads the pack with 14 wickets, followed by Anwar Ali and Hassan Khan (11 wickets apiece), and Mir Hamza (10).

Tayyab Tahir has been the mainstay of Central Punjab’s batting with 539 runs in 10 matches with a century and four half-centuries. Saad Nasim (391 runs), Qasim Akram (385 runs) and Rizwan Hussain (347 runs) have provided Tayyab a good helping hand. Ahmed Bashir and Usman Qadir have shared the bowling responsibilities and have taken 14 wickets each, while Zafar Gohar has scooped nine wickets.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa v Northern

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa comfortably defeated Northern by four wickets in their first match at the NBP Sports Complex. Iftikhar Ahmed took three wickets and Asif Afridi and Irfanullah Shah equally shared four wickets between them to dismiss Northern for 112. In turn, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reached 113 for the loss of six wickets.

In the return match at the SBP Sports Complex, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa made it two out of two when they defeated Northern by five wickets. Batting first Northern scored 324 in 49.2 overs that revolved around Haider Ali (95), Rohail Nazir (68) and Umar Amin (67). In turn, Iftikhar Ahmed slapped 12 fours and three sixes in a 110-ball 123, while Adil Amin scored a 78-ball 93 with five fours and four sixes as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa achieved victory for the loss of five wickets with 10 balls to spare.

Adil Amin has been Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s leading run-scorer with 353 runs in eight matches, while Khalid Usman has scored 339 runs at an average of 56.50. Fakhar Zaman and Iftikhar Ahmed are the other batsmen who have broken the 300-run mark with 312 and 306 runs, respectively. Asif Afridi is by far their best bowler with 18 wickets, followed by Iftikhar Ahmed (nine wickets), Imran Khan and Irfanullah Shah (eight wickets apiece).

For Northern, Asif Ali averages 56.86 after scoring 398 runs in seven matches, while Umar Amin (385) and Hammad Azam (349) are the other notable batsmen. Hammad has followed up his 349 runs with 12 wickets, while Athar Mehmood (11), Salman Irshad (eight) and Mubasir Khan (seven) are the other leading wicket-takers.