Rawalpindi, Port Qasim in Benazir Bhutto Twenty20 final

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rawapindi’s prolific left-handed opener Babar Naeem butchered the Lahore bowling attack to help his team sail into the final of the Shaheed-e-Jamhooriat Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Twenty20 Cricket Championship 2008, here on Saturday at the Diamond Club Ground.

By this move upward, Rawalpindi will clash with Port Qasim Authority (PQA) in the final to be played on Sunday (today) here at the Diamond Club Ground, as PQA had staged a mammoth nine-wicket win over star-studded National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) at National Stadium Karachi on Friday.

In Islamabad yesterday, Babar Naeem hit up an unbeaten 42-ball 75 embellished with four sixes and six fours before he bade farewell to Lahore as they lost the keenly-contested semifinal battle.

Lahore set up a decent target of 154 for seven in 20 overs but not before consistent run-getter Azhar Ali scored a 52-ball 54 with one six and five fours. Umar Akmal hit a brisk 17-ball 25 and Mohammad Hussain got 20 runs off 13 balls.

Emerging world star Sohail Tanvir claimed two wickets for 23 in the four overs he bowled. Another quality all-rounder Yasir Arafat had two for 25 with left-arm spinner Yasim Murtaza and Mohammad Irfan sharing one wicket each.

Rawalpindi hit the jackpot by reaching the target on the penultimate ball of the innings, as Babar Naeem remained unbeaten with his belligerent 42-ball 75 runs innings which enthralled the crowd.

Awais Zia hit up 19 and Naved Malik scored 17 with Yasir Arafat also hitting making 17 runs.

The final will start at 1.00 pm today at the Diamond Club Ground and coaches of both the teams, Sabih Azhar and Ashiq Hussain (Rawalpindi) and Rashid Latif (PQA), are showing their optimism to lift the first-ever Shaheed-e-Jamhooriat Championship.

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