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KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) needed less than two days to qualify for the Patron’s Trophy Grade-II Cricket Tournament final after annihilating Navy by a whopping innings and 172 runs in Islamabad on Monday.

Upfront SBP closed their overnight first innings at the Diamond Club Ground after facing two further deliveries at 437-5. The solitary casualty on day two was Pakistan left-hander Saad Ali, who was dismissed for 77 off 74 balls with six fours and two sixes.

Trailing by 385 on the first innings, Navy — who were shot out for 52 on Sunday’s opening day of this three-day semi-final — managed a second-innings total of 213. Abdul Saad was the top-scorer with 52 from 41 deliveries while striking five sixes and a brace of fours before being caught behind by Rohail Nazir off Taj Wali.

Other than Saad opener Hamza Ghanchi scored 37 off 54 balls with the help of seven boundaries while Latif Junejo hit five fours in also making 37 featuring five fours.

Wasim Ahmed was the only other Navy batsman to cross 30 as he struck a 44-ball 35 with seven boundaries.

Taj, the left-armer paceman who alongside upcoming fast bowler Mohammad Ilyas grabbed a hat-trick in the first innings, ended up taking 4-42 in 8.5 overs, giving him a match haul of eight wickets for 54 runs.

Young Ilyas captured two wickets for 27 runs in 10 overs to finish with seven for 56 for the match.

Hammad Butt was the star of the other semi-final at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi as his brilliant knock of 172 enabled the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to obtain first-innings lead of six runs against Sabir’s Poultry.

Resuming at 42-1 in reply to their opponents tally of 346, the HEC reached 352-8 in the stipulated 83 overs allocated for the first innings. The foundation was provided by the splendid second-wicket partnership of 185 between Hammad and Mohammad Faiq.

Hammad led the way with 172 as the opener adorned his 214-ball innings with 27 boundaries while Faiq sent the ball 11 times to the fence during his 90-ball stay at the crease.

Arsalan Zia also played a good hand as he helped Hammad put on 87 for the third wicket. He contributed an 86-ball 35 that featured four fours.

Paceman Nisar Ahmed was pick of the bowlers with figures of 5-112 in 27 overs.

Sabir’s Poultry survived five overs before stumps to collect 37 without loss. In case this fixture ends in a draw, the HEC would face SBP in the four-day final at the Pindi Cricket Stadium from Thursday.

Close of play scores and result on Monday (day two of three):

Semi-finals:

At Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi: SABIR’S POULTRY 346 in 80.5 overs (Imran Nazir 100, Irfan Haider 65, Imran Dogar 59, Yawar Bashir 38; Bilal Anwar 3-75, Asfand Mehran 2-67, Mamoon Riaz 2-84) and 37-0 in 5 overs; HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSION 352-8 in 83 overs (Hammad Butt 172, Mohammad Faiq 79, Arsalan Zia 35, Sajid Khan 22 not out; Nisar Ahmed 5-112).

At Diamond Club Ground, Islamabad: State Bank beat Navy by an innings and 172 runs.

NAVY 52 in 15.3 overs (Wasim Ahmed 17, Israr Aslam 15; Mohammad Ilyas 5-29, Taj Wali 4-12) and 213 in 49.5 overs (Abdul Saad 52, Hamza Ghanchi 37, Latif Junejo 37, Wasim Ahmed 35; Taj Wali 4-42, Mohammad Ilyas 2-27); STATE BANK 437-5 declared in 69.2 overs (Sahibzada Farhan 157, Saad Ali 77, Rohail Nazir 75, Mohammad Nawaz 62, Israrullah 39; Latif Junejo 2-96).

Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2019