Fakhar, Azam star as Abbottabad, Karachi Whites reach National T20 Cup final

Karachi Whites advanced to the final of National T20 Cup 2023-24 as they beat Rawalpindi by four wickets in the second semi-final

Fakhar, Azam star as Abbottabad, Karachi Whites reach National T20 Cup final PHOTO: PCB

Karachi Whites advanced to the final of National T20 Cup 2023-24 as they beat Rawalpindi by four wickets in the second semi-final. They will take on Abbottabad in the final on Sunday at National Bank Stadium, Karachi. The toss will take place at 1930 PKT and the first ball will be bowled at 2000 PKT.

Earlier in the evening, Rawalpindi won the toss and elected to bat first. Shahnawaz Dahani struck with the new ball as he dismissed the out-of-form Haider Ali (2, 4b). The other opener Yasir Khan (8, 10b, 1x6) failed to get going as well even after clubbing one six. Umar Amin walked into bat during the fifth over and finished with an unbeaten 82 from 47 balls comprising of nine boundaries and three maximums.

Zeeshan Malik (32, 34b, 1x4, 2x6s) and Mohammad Nawaz (35, 17b, 4x4s, 2x6s) played around Umar as they contributed towards keeping the innings together. Rawalpindi hit a total of 14 boundaries and eight towering sixes that took them to 177-5. Karachi Whites used seven bowlers but only Shahnawaz Dahani, Sohail Khan and Danish Aziz managed to get a breakthrough for their team.

Karachi Whites’ pursuit of the chase was intentful as Khurram Manzoor bludgeoned his way to a five-ball 18 before being dismissed in the first over. Ammad Alam continued the charge as he smoked three sixes in his 19-ball stay at the crease accumulating 24 runs.

Mehran Mumtaz struck in back-to-back overs to jolt Karachi Whites’ momentum. The departure of Omair Bin Yousuf (25, 22b, 1x4, 1x6) and Danish Aziz (22, 14b, 1x4, 1x6) in a space of four overs tilted the balance of the game.

Azam Khan (38, 25b, 2x4s, 3x6s) took the game in Karachi Whites’ favour as he launched a barrage of boundaries against Bilawal Bhatti in the 16th over, ransacking 20 runs. The baton was then passed to veteran Anwar Ali, who showcased glimpses of his heydays with an unbeaten 15-ball 25 hitting two sixes and one four.

Sohail Khan befittingly hit the winning runs as Karachi Whites got over the line with 11 balls to spare. Kashif Ali and Bilawal Bhatti conceded 89 runs in their six overs taking only one wicket. Azam Khan was declared player of the match for his breezy knock.

Earlier in the day, Peshawar’s 10-match winning streak finally came to an end as they faced a thumping defeat at the hands of Abbottabad in the first semi-final National T20 Cup 2023-24. Yasir Shah-led Abbottabad secured a berth in the final of National T20 Cup for the first time after storming to a seven-wicket victory with 13 balls to spare.

Abbottabad’s chase was built around immaculate striking by openers Fakhar Zaman and Sajjad Ali Jnr, both of whom hit a combined 12 sixes. The first-wicket stand yielded 113 runs in quick time, putting the pressure on the Peshawar bowlers.

Sajjad smashed his third fifty on the trot, taking a special liking to Peshawar captain Iftikhar Ahmed’s bowling as he deposited him for four maximums in one over. Mohammad Imran ended his stay at the crease after he accumulated 57 in 29 balls with seven sixes and a solitary four.

Next batter in, Kamran Ghulam, was dismissed cheaply for four but Fakhar continued to unleash lusty blows to motor the chase. The star batter finished with an unbeaten 79 off 46 deliveries, studded with five maximums and eight boundaries.

Abbottabad’s winning runs also came off a six that Afaq Ahmed struck Abbas Ali over long-off, emblematic of the team’s dominance today. Imran was the only Peshawar bowler who threatened the opposition as he gave away 18 runs in his four overs including one wicket.

Abbottabad’s decision to bowl first reaped rewards as leading run-getter of the tournament Sahibzada Farhan (15, 10b, 3x4s) was removed early by Aqib Khan. Left-arm pacer Shahab Khan then got the big wickets of Mohammad Haris (16, 21b, 1x4, 1x6) and Iftikhar Ahmed (0, 2b) in his first over to leave Peshawar four down for 75.

Israrullah then launched a brilliant counterattack, smoking 10 fours and three sixes in his 34-ball 73 at a strike rate in excess of 210. However, Israrullah found little support at the other end as no other batter crossed the 20-run mark.

Shahab ran through the Peshawar line-up, bagging five scalps – his second five-fer of the competition. He was duly named player of the match.

Scores in brief:

Karachi Whites beat Rawalpindi by four wickets

Rawalpindi 177-5, 20 overs (Umar Amin 82 not out, Mohammad Nawaz 35, Zeeshan Malik 32; Sohail Khan 2-21, Shahnawaz Dahani 2-33, Danish Aziz 1-12)

Karachi Whites 178-6, 18.1 overs (Azam Khan 38, Anwar Ali 25 not out, Omair Bin Yousuf 25; Mehran Mumtaz 2-17, Jahandad Khan 2-25, Mubasir Khan 1-5, Kashif Ali 1-50)

Player of the match – Azam Khan (Karachi Whites)

Abbottabad beat Peshawar by seven wickets

Peshawar 169 all out, 19.2 overs (Israrullah 73; Shahab Khan 5-33, Fayaz Khan 2-33, Aqib Khan 2-41)

Abbottabad 175-3, 17.5 overs (Fakhar Zaman 79 not out, Sajjad Ali Jnr 57, Aitzaz Habib Khan 21; Abbas Ali 1-7, Mohammad Imran 1-18, Iftikhar Ahmed 1-48)

Player of the match – Shahab Khan (Abbottabad)