Monday March 27, 2023

Upsets continue in National Snooker

January 01, 2023

KARACHI: The trend of upsets extended to the knockout phase as unseeded Sirbuland Khan routed top seeded Muhammad Sajjad in the pre-quarter-finals of the NBP 47th National Snooker Championship 2023 here at the NBP Sports Complex in Clifton on Saturday.

Sixth seed Zulfiqar Abdul Qadir and seventh seed Muhammad Faizan also crashed in the pre-quarters with only fifth seed Shahid Aftab and eighth seed Awaisullah Munir succeeding in reaching the quarterfinals.

All the four quarterfinals, featuring as many as half a dozen unseeded aspirants, will be played on Sunday (today). Adil Abdul Jabbar of Balochistan will be taking on Shah Naimat of Islamabad, Akash Rafiq of KPK will confront Shahid Aftab of Punjab, Sirbuland Khan of KPK will lock horns with Sultan Muhammad of Sindh while Naseem Akhtar will be pitted against Awaisullah Munir in an all-Punjab duel.

Sirbuland Khan, a qualifier from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), managed to dethrone the vastly experienced Muhammad Sajjad, a former world number two, to bring out the biggest shock of the completion so far. He overcame his mighty rival from Punjab 5-3 with the frame scores of 19-89, 66-55, 1-88, 74-10, 56-44, 6-65, 65-33, 73-0.

Shahid Aftab, after a tense battle, edged out Zulfiqar Qadir of Sindh 5-4 with the scores of 22-65, 14-99, 60-34, 53-43, 64-60, 18-62, 38-59, 84-8, 64-40 while Sultan Muhammad overpowered Muhammad Faizan, also from Sindh, 5-2 with the scores of 78-33, 59-19, 58-24, 51-64, 67-35, 21-66, 69-56.

Naseem Akhtar, a former world junior champion, registered a classy break of 125 while demolishing Abdul Javed of Islamabad in straight frames with the scores of 59-50, 67-5, 126-8, 87-0, 45-12.

In the other pre-quarters, Adil Abdul Jabbar whipped Abdul Sattar of Sindh 5-2 with the scores of 111-5, 28-61, 9-65, 78-6, 98-27, 68-30, 96-34, Shah Naimat blasted Ali Hamza of Sindh in straight frame with the scores of 64-16, 76-18, 76-16, 85-20, 94-7, Awaisullah Munir crushed Sharjeel Mahmood of KPK 5-2 with the scores being 18-86, 70-0, 65-27, 44-36, 76-12, 36-87, 72-25 and Akash Rafiq blanked Wasim Abbas of Punjab in straight frames with the scores of 94-8, 65-56, 63-8, 54-50, 54-8.

Earlier Adil Abdul Jabbar, a qualifier from Balochistan, produced a sensational display by constructing two century breaks in a single match on the third and final day of the preliminary rounds of his upset 4-1 victory over sixth seed Zulfiqar Abdul Qadir, containing big breaks of 119 and 139, which also took him through to the pre-quarter-finals.

After a flurry of upsets witnessed on three days, as many as 11 unseeded cueists stormed into the knockout rounds. Shan Naimat, Ali Hamza, Sirbuland Khan, Muhammad Naseem Akhtar, Akash Rafiq, Waseem Abbas, Abdul Sattar, Abdul Javed, Sharjeel Mahmood and Sultan Muhammad were the others to have progressed to last 16, besides Adil Abdul Jabbar.