SINGAPORE: Skipper Hammad Azam led Pakistan’s U-23 team from the front and helped his team overcome Sri Lanka by one wicket in a thrilling semi-final of the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup at the Padang ground here on Friday.
Pakistan U-23s will face their arch-rivals India in the final on Sunday. India defeated the UAE by 46 runs at Singapore’s Kallang Ground in Friday’s other semi-final.
All-rounder Hammad (66 not out) batting at No.7 was assisted well by an intelligent last man pacer Ehsan Adil (2 not out off 14 balls) which helped the duo produce a match-winning 36 runs in their partnership. Pakistan, at 196-9, were looking set to lose the game while chasing 231 for victory. Hammad had come in to bat as Pakistan slumped to 118-5 in the 29th over.
The 22-year-old Hammad lifted medium-pace bowler Lahiru Jayaratne for a six on the penultimate delivery of the 49th over to complete an exciting match in Pakistan’s favour. Hammad consumed 69 balls and struck three sixes and a couple of fours during his solid knock that also earned him the man-of-the-match award.
Earlier electing to bat first, Sri Lanka posted a decent total of 230-7 off their 50 overs. Left-handed opener Udara Jayasundera made a magnificent 94 (off 120 balls) studded with nine fours and a six. His opening partner Shehan Jayasuriya (33 off 45 balls) was the only other notable scorer in the Sri Lankan innings. The openers gave their team a solid 81-run start but the remaining batsmen could not capitalise on the sound beginning. Charith Jayampathi (22 not out off 11 balls) batting at number eight helped the Lankans reach a respectable total.
Leg-spinner Usman Qadir claimed five wickets for 32 runs off his 10 tight overs.—Agencies