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Sunday December 05, 2021

Asif (97*) keeps Islamabad in contention

December 22, 2018

KARACHI: Pakistan’s T20 specialist Asif Ali shellacked a 62-ball 97 not out to enable Islamabad to keep alive when they defeated Karachi Whites by two wickets in the last-ball thriller of the National T20 Cup at Multan Cricket Stadium on Friday.

The 27-year old, playing his first game after returning from his successful stint for South Africa’s Cape Town Blitz in the Mzansi Super League, showed his power-hitting when he smacked five sixes and seven fours to help Islamaabd chase the 157-run target off the last ball of the innings.

In the last over from left-arm spinner Mohammad Asghar Islamabad needed 13 runs. Asif brought a gripping win for his side. The victory left Islamabad with a minor chance of qualifying for the semi-finals as they moved to four points from six meetings with a game against Multan yet in hand.

Islamabad at one stage they were gasping at 35-4 in six overs. But Asif took the responsibility and dominated the 91-run stand for the fifth wicket with Ali Sarfraz who chipped in with a 23-ball 26 which featured three fours. After Sarfraz’s fall the wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals. Asif, who survived on 64 when dropped by Mohammad Sami off left-arm leggie Raza Hasan, showed his class and took his side to a remarkable win. Asghar was the pick of the bowlers with 3-30 in four overs. Strongly-built fast bowler Arshad Iqbal (2-23) conceded just five runs in the penultimate over that left 13 runs for Asghar in the final over to defend.

Earlier Karachi Whites lost Awais Zia for a brisk ten-ball 17 which featured three fours. Rameez Raja Junior (30) and Khurram Manzoor (26) then added 46 for the second wicket stand. Rameez smashed two sixes and two fours from 22 deliveries. Khurram clobbered four fours from 29 balls. Danish Aziz, in the end, hammered a fiery 27-ball 43 not out to take his side to post 156-6 in the allotted 20 overs.

Spinner Adeel Malik picked 2-26 in four overs. Asif Ali was declared Man-of-the-Match.

Meanwhile Islamabad skipper Imad Wasim said that he had never seen such an innings.

Meanwhile Rawalpindi romped to their fourth win to brighten semi-finals chances when they defeated Multan by three wickets thanks to Mohammad Nawaz’s career-best bowling. Left-arm spinner Nawaz captured 5-24 in four overs to enable Rawalpindi to restrict Multan to 152-6. Saud Shakeel (54) and Hammad Azam (44*) then enabled Rawalpindi to achieve the target with one ball to spare after losing seven wickets. In the final over from Mohammad Imran Rawalpindi needed ten runs to win. Hammad Azam hit Imran for a six off his first ball and then took a single off the second.

Earlier Multan skipper Sohaib Maqsood played the gem of an innings for Multan when he slammed 54-ball 75 not out to catapult his side to 152-6.

Sohaib hammered four sixes and five fours in his epic knock.Rawalpindi, in response, were at one stage 41-3. However Saud and Hammad put on 53 runs for the fourth wicket stand to keep Rawalpindi’s chasing hopes alive. Yamin grabbed 3-36. Left-arm international pacer Mohammad Irfan got 2-23 in four overs. Nawaz was adjudged as Man-of-the-Match.