National T20 Cup semifinals today: Fata hope to halt Lahore Blues progress
ISLAMABAD: National T20’s surprise package Fata aims at having a go at title hoping to halt Lahore Blues progress in the semis rescheduled at the Pindi Stadium on Wednesday.
The semis and final were to be staged over the weekend when the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided to postpone it due to unrest around the venue where a religious party was staging sit-in. The sudden improvement in law and order situation in Rawalpindi and Islamabad later convinced the PCB to hold the knock out stage matches ahead of Eid Milad-un-Nabi celebrations.
Fata team that so far has played brilliant cricket in the Championship especially against Faisalabad in their last round robin match, are aiming to have a go at the title after getting better of Blues.
“Admitted that the Lahore Blues have got some experienced players, we are on the move and hopefully would be able to make it to the final beating Blues on the way,” Fata’s head coach Ayaz Akbar said after supervising team training session at the Diamond Ground here Tuesday.
The representative of younger crop of coaches, Ayaz said every player was chipping in and playing his part brilliantly. “Look the way they handled the pressure against Faisalabad where they were facing a stiff target of reaching the victory mark within 17 overs. The team achieved that with share brilliance as Hamad Azam led from the front to achieve target in immaculate fashion.” He was critical of those elements who were talking absurd regarding the outcome of last match. “Everyone should have guts to recognise our efforts. Fata players and management have worked hard and that is why the team is in the semis,” Ayaz said.
Powerful Lahore Whites, however, go into the first semis against Faisalabad on Wednesday as strong favourite. Lahore Whites spearheaded by none other than Kamran Akmal (highest run getter in the tournament - 382 runs) and Salman Butt are on run rampage. Backed by quality pace attack headed by Wahab Riaz and Umaid Asif, the team gives formidable look. On the contrary, Faisalabad skipper Saeed Ajmal has already thrown the towel as he was quoted to have said that he would officially announce his retirement on the last day of Faisalabad’s engagement. He has already set his press conference on Wednesday evening, possible knowing in hand his team had got no chance against Lahore Whites.