KARACHI: Test cricketers Khurram Manzoor and Asad Shafiq produced career-best performances with the willow to put Karachi Whites in the semi-finals as they crushed Islamabad by 86 runs in their penultimate round fixture of the National One-day Cup for Regions at the Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi, on Sunday.
Holders Peshawar and Rawalpindi also reached semi-finals after registering convincing wins over Lahore Whites and Faisalabad, respectively.Khurram blasted 187 and skipper Asad slammed 145 to enable Karachi Whites to pile up a massive total of 384-5 in the stipulated 50 overs.This was the sixth highest total in Pakistan’s List A history.
The duo shared 268 for the opening stand. Khurram smacked 22 fours and three sixes in the 155-ball epic 19th century of his List A career. Asad smashed 21 fours and one six in the superb 116-ball ninth hundred of his List A cricket. Akbar-ur-Rehman made 26-ball 35 with four fours and one six. Medium pacer Shehzad Azam Rana got 3-85.
In response, Islamabad managed only 298-7. Shehzad Azam (87*) and Nouman Ali (74) shared 90 for the seventh wicket after the top order failed to put in its best.Shehzad hammered nine fours and four towering sixes from 74 balls. Nouman struck six fours and five sixes in his quick-fire 45-ball feat. Abid Ali chipped in with a 62-ball 60 which featured ten fours.
Test-discard Mohammad Sami (2-45) and left-arm spinner Danish Aziz (2-54) bowled well. With their fourth win, Karachi Whites now have eight points. The loss put Islamabad out of the event.
Peshawar upstaged Lahore Whites by seven wickets thanks to another splendid innings from in-form opener Sahibzada Farhan at the Arbab Niaz Stadium, Peshawar, to qualify for semi-finals.
Farhan hammered 119 to enable Peshawar to chase the 282-run target in the 47th over after losing three wickets.Charsadda-born Farhan shared 90 for the opening stand with left-hander Israrullah who scored 66-ball 56, hitting ten fours.
Farhan put on 82 for the second wicket with Ashfaq Ahmed, who belted 38-ball 42 which featured five fours and one six.Farhan was involved in 105-run third wicket partnership with skipper Mohammad Rizwan, who made 55-ball 64 with 12 fours.Ali Shafiq got 2-40 in eight overs.
Lahore Whites, asked to bat first, had staged 281-9 with skipper Ahmed Shehzad scoring 104 off 96 balls. Shehzad, who hit 12 fours in his superb knock, shared 128 for the second wicket with Rizwan Hussain, who blasted 77-ball 78 with seven fours and a couple of sixes.
Shehzad then put on 77 for the third wicket with Usman Salahuddin, who hit unbeaten 76-ball 60 with two sixes.Left-arm pacer Taj Wali got 3-64. This was the fifth victory for Peshawar which helped them maintain their position at the summit with ten points.
Lahore Whites have five points and are still alive in the competition. They will compete for the only semi-final spot left with Lahore Blues who trail with six points.At Diamond Club Ground, Islamabad, Rawalpindi recorded their fourth win to make it to the last-four stage when they overwhelmed Faisalabad by six wickets.
After being asked to bat first, Faisalabad posted 228-9 in the allotted overs. Raees Ahmed (65) and international all-rounder Faheem Ashraf (54) blasted fine fifties. Raees hit five fours and one six from 72 balls. Faheem struck seven fours from 78 deliveries.
Opener Abdul Samad (35) and tail-ender Ali Shahn (31*) also made useful contributions. Medium pacer Yasir Ali was the pick of the bowlers with 4-69. Left-arm pacer Saad Altaf got 2-47.
Rawalpindi chased the target in the 43rd over after losing four wickets.Opener Naved Malik scored 64 for the winners, blasting 11 fours and two sixes. He shared 87 for the second wicket with international left-hander Umar Amin, who chipped in with 59-ball 44 with six fours.
Test cricketer Iftikhar Ahmed (56) put on 72 for the fourth wicket with young left hander Saud Shakeel, who hammered 40-ball 33 with two fours.
Iftikhar, who played a Test during Pakistan’s last tour to England, hit seven fours from 67 deliveries.Medium pacer Asad Raza got 2-47.
At KRL Ground, Rawalpindi, FATA notched their first win when they shocked Umar Akmal-led Lahore Blues by 35 runs.
FATA posted 266-9 with Nisar Afridi hammering 86-ball 62 with eight fours. He shared 81 for the fourth wicket with left-hander Khushdil Shah, who chipped in with 52-ball 45 which featured one four and two sixes.
Sohail Akhtar (52) and Samiullah Junior (33) put on 62 for the sixth wicket to take the tribesmen to a fighting total.
Sohail, who has been consistent with the bat, smashed three fours and two sixes from 43 balls. Samiullah hit one six and one four from 30 balls.
Young pacer Bilawal Iqbal got 4-34. Test discard Aizaz Cheema and spinner Salman Ali Agha got one wicket each.
FATA bowled out Lahore Blues for 231 in the 49th over. Mohammad Saad scored 99-ball 67 with seven fours. He added 79 for the second wicket with Waqas Saleem, who scored 58-ball 34 with two fours.
Left-arm pacer Mir Hamza (3-55) and spinner Mukhtar Ahmed (3-61) bowled well. Khushdil Shah took 2-38 with his left-arm spinners.The seventh and last round will be held on Tuesday (tomorrow).