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January 4, 2015

Shoaib, bowlers push KP Fighters into final


January 4, 2015

KARACHI: Shoaib Malik struck another unbeaten fifty and Zafar Gohar and Mohammad Sami bowled well to put Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Fighters in the final as they overwhelmed Balochistan Warriors by seven wickets in the Pentangular Cup 2014-15 here at the National Stadium on Saturday.
This was the third straight win for Fighters and they still have a game in hand against Punjab Badshahs.
Left-arm spinner Zafar (4-37) and Test discard Sami (3-14 in 7.2 overs) bowled splendidly to dismiss Balochistan Warriors for only 136 in 42.2 overs.
Former Pakistan captain Shoaib then hammered 68 not out as Fighters achieved the target in 35.4 overs after losing three wickets.
The decision of Warriors’ skipper Azhar Ali to bat first after winning the toss proved costly when they lost their seven wickets for just 50 runs in 21.3 overs.
But left-hander Ayaz Tasawwar (44) and Zulfiqar Babar (32) scored 58 runs for the eighth wicket to prevent their team from utter humiliation.
Test leg-spinner Yasir Shah got rid of Babar, who edged a delivery that pitched on the off-stump and spun away from the right-hander. Rizwan took a nice catch behind the stumps. Babar hammered two sixes and a four in his fine 31-ball knock.
Gohar then had Rahat Ali (0), caught at mid-off by Naeemuddin before Sami sent back Ayaz, held by keeper Rizwan to fold Warriors’ innings.
Ayaz struck five fours and hit Gohar for a huge six in his 81-ball effort.
Azhar Ali (17) and Rameez Aziz (12) were the others who managed double figures. Azhar, who opened the innings with Sami Aslam (7), hit three fours from 42 balls before being removed by Gohar.
Azhar had been dropped in the slip by Israrullah off Sami on the first ball of the innings.
Skipper Junaid Khan (1-27 from 7 overs), Taj Wali (1-18 from 6) and Yasir Shah (1-27 from 10) were the other wicket takers.
In response, KP Fighters lost Naeemuddin (11), Israrullah (27) and Mohammad Rizwan (4) for 61 in 20.2 overs, but Malik and

Adil Amin (27*) added 78 for the fourth wicket unbroken partnership to give Fighters an easy win.
Malik smacked ten fours and a six in his third successive half century, for which he played 88 balls. Adil banged three fours in his 45-ball innings.
Test pacer Ehsan Adil, who got rid of Naeemuddin and Rizwan, picked 2-25 from six overs. Azhar claimed 1-37 from eight overs.
Left-arm Test pacer Mohammad Irfan conceded 20 runs from seven overs. Rahat Ali gave away 39 from 7.4 overs.
“I think the decision of our rivals to decide to bat first benefited us,” KP Fighters’ coach Abdur Rehman told ‘The News’. “There was moisture and if we had won the toss we would opt to bowl,” said Rehman, a former first-class cricketer.
KP Fighters will miss Shoaib for the rest of the matches as he was scheduled to fly for Australia late Saturday night to represent Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash. Zafar Gohar was adjudged man-of-the-match.
There will be no match on Sunday (today). On Monday, Federal United will face Punjab Badshahs.

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