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November 1, 2018

Quaid-e-Azam One-day Cup: Close fight expected in first semi-final today


November 1, 2018

KARACHI: A gruelling contest is expected when star-studded WAPDA lock horns with in-form Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) in the first semi-final of the Quaid-e-Azam One-day Cup at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, on Thursday (today).

Led by former Pakistan captain Salman Butt, WAPDA have been outstanding in the event so far and have reached the pre-final after outclassing National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) by eight wickets in the quarter-final of the 16-team event.

The left-handed Salman has been the key player for his side as he has scored 482 runs with a staggering average of 96.40.His side will again need a solid contribution from him on a pitch which sources say will be full of runs.

In the knock-out stage some fine pitches have been seen so far but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has failed to attract crowds as there were few people at the stadium in the previous four knock-out matches.

Mohammad Ikhlaq (233) has also shown great guts with the bat. Former Pakistan Test wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and experienced first-class cricketer Rafatullah Mohmand will also need to provide a solid platform to their side.

WAPDA also have a strong bowling pool with Wahab Riaz, Ehsan Adil, Mansoor Amjad, Zahid Mansoor, Khalid Usman, Mohammad Irfan, Zulfiqar Babar and Sadaif Mehdi. All these have made major contributions to the team’s wins so far.

KRL, who qualified for the semi-finals by beating Multan by six wickets in the quarter-final the other day, are expected to give WAPDA a hard run for their money.They have reached the last-four stage thanks to Shoaib Ahmed (332 runs), Karachi’s Jaahid Ali (246), Saif Badar (234) and Abdul Rehman Muzammil (197).

In bowling, spinner Nouman Ali (16 wickets) will be their trump card. Nouman is the leading wicket-taker in the event. In the past few matches, spinners have played a key role in their teams’ achievements because the wickets were too slow.

They have a talented young fast bowler in Sameen Gul, who has taken 10 wickets. Sameen can generate speed and swing the ball as well. Highly experienced pacer Sadaf Hussain and spinner Shoaib Ahmed have also done well in the event for the Rawalpindi-based KRL.

A KRL team source told ‘The News’ on Wednesday that some changes could be made to the team. “A couple of changes are expected in our team,” the source said.He further said that there was no grass on the pitch and it would be a high scoring game.

In the fourth quarter-final, between PTV and Islamabad, both sides scored more than 300 runs. Two batsmen scored centuries for PTV, who ultimately won that game by nine runs. One batsman of Islamabad also scored a hundred. In the second semi-final, PTV will face Habib Bank Limited (HBL) at the same venue on Friday (tomorrow).

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