KARACHI: The 11th National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) ranking snooker championship which concludes at the bank’s sports complex on Saturday may produce a new champion as veteran Mohammad Asif takes on new find Mubashir Raza in the title clash.
Two-time former national champion Mohammad Asif survived scare while routing ex-junior international Mohammad Ahsan Javaid by 6-5 frames so does Mubashir Raza who accounted for another ex-national champion Mohammad Sajjad 6-4 in the two semi-finals on Friday.
Playing first semi-final of a ranking snooker competition of his career, former national U-21 champion Ahsan enjoyed an edge over his opponent as he led 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4 before the lead slipped from his hands.
Asif, who had three NBP Cup titles under his belt, kept his nerves as he won the best of 11 frames match 63-44, 87-1, 47-60, 0-94, 1-99, 70-26, 41-74, 71-35, 56-65, 56-47, 71-28.
“Ahsan played well,” Asif told Dawn while describing the match.
Playing on the adjacent table Mubsahir, who too made it first semi-final of a ranking event of his career, defied pressure to post an incredible victory over his experienced opponent.
It is pertinent to mention that Sajjad has made a comeback by reaching the last four after a lull. He also chalked up a break of 103 in the seventh frame but in vain.
Mubashir won the battle 55-39, 1-64, 63-49, 23-65, 73-61, 97-34, 4-129, 14-55, 71-32, 69-28.
The best of 15 frames final between Asif and Mubashir will be played on Saturday at 10am. The prize distribution ceremony will be held at 4.30pm.
Semi-finals: Mohammad Asif (Punjab) bt Mohammad Ahsan Javaid (Punjab) 6-5 (63-44, 87-1, 47-60, 0-94, 1-99, 70-26, 41-74, 71-35, 56-65, 56-47, 71-28); Mubashir Raza (Punjab) bt Mohammad Sajjad (Punjab) 6-4 (55-39, 1-64, 63-49, 23-65, 73-61, 97-34, 4-129, 14-55, 71-32, 69-28).
Mohammad Asif vs Mubashir Raza (final) at 10am (best of 15 frames).
Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2019