KARACHI: Northern and Central Punjab sealed the remaining two semi-final berths in the Pakistan Cup after winning their respective last-round fixtures on Tuesday, while former international Imran Farhat brought down curtains on his 24-year professional career with a century.
With Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa having already qualified for the knockout phase of the 50-over competition, the main interest in the last round centred on the two games where the winners were guaranteed to go through.
Northern booked their passage by handing fellow contenders Southern Punjab a 44-run defeat at the UBL Sports Complex where Test discard Shan Masood led from the front with a brilliant innings but his heroics were not enough to steer his team over the line.
Central Punjab pulled of a four-wicket victory over Sindh at the NBP Sports Complex to grab the fourth spot in the six-team standings.
Batting first, Northern amassed 337-8. Umar Amin (83 off 78 balls, 10 boundaries) and wicket-keeper/batsman Rohail Nazir (88 off 71, seven fours and five sixes) playing the lead roles as they stitched together a fourth-wicket partnership of 138.
Southern Punjab were curtailed to 293 all out in the 47th over of their chase. Shan stood out with 141 off 128 balls as the left-handed opener struck 12 fours. Mukhtar Ahmed made 63 during the first-wicket stand of 127 with his captain.
Sindh take on Central Punjab in the first semi-final on Thursday with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa playing Northern on Friday in the other last-four clash. Both semi-finals and the final on Sunday will be played at the SBP Sports Complex.
Results on Tuesday:
Sindh, who were assured of topping the table after winning seven matches before start of the final round, posted 277-6 after Central Punjab captain Saad Nasim had elected to bowl.
Khurram Manzoor continued his spectacular form as he compiled an unbeaten 163-ball 143 containing 15 fours and one six.
Asad Shafiq, standing in as skipper for Anwar Ali, contributed 85 (93 balls, seven boundaries), put on 159 for the third wicket with Khurram, who was later declared man-of-the-match.
Tayyab Tahir starred for Central Punjab as the in-form opener clubbed eight fours and two sixes in scoring 93 from 108 deliveries, while the other major contributor was Raza Ali Dar with a 72-ball 71 (two sixes and one four).
Emotions ran high in the televised fixture at the SBP Sports Complex as Pakistan stalwart Imran Farhat signed off in great style by completing his 15th one-day hundred as the left-hander scored 123 (88 balls, 17 fours and three sixes) but despite his grand effort Balochistan lost to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by 23 runs.
Earlier, Adil Amin (121 off 90, nine fours and five fours) and emerging wicket-keeper/batsman Mohammad Haris (100 off 75, 11 fours and two sixes) lifted Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from 99-5 in the 21st over to a commanding 370-9 by putting on 227 for the sixth wicket after Imran had opted to field first. It was the 19-year-old Haris’ maiden List A ton.
At SBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Balochistan by 23 runs.
KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 370-9 in 50 overs (Adil Amin 121, Mohammad Haris 100, Israrullah 25, Aamir Azmat 25, Mohammad Wasim 24, Iftikhar Ahmed 20; Gohar Faiz 4-66, Taj Wali 3-70, Raza-ul-Hasan 2-65); BALOCHISTAN 347 in 47 overs (Imran Farhat 123, Ayaz Tasawwar 53, Akbar-ur-Rehman 50, Bismillah Khan 42, Haris Sohail 40; Imran Khan 4-58, Asif Afridi 2-54).
At UBL Sports Complex, Karachi: Northern beat Southern Punjab by 44 runs.
NORTHERN 337-8 in 50 overs (Rohail Nazir 88, Umar Amin 83, Hammad Azam 39, Taimoor Sultan 35, Mubasir Khan 30, Haider Ali 28; Zahid Mahmood 3-49, Mohammad Abbas 2-66); SOUTHERN PUNJAB 293 in 46.3 overs (Shan Masood 141, Mukhtar Ahmed 63, Sohaib Maqsood 22, Hussain Talat 21; Salman Irshad 2-47, Mohammad Musa Khan 2-48, Hammad Azam 2-59).
At NBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Central Punjab beat Sindh by four wickets.
SINDH 277-6 in 50 overs (Khurram Manzoor 143 not out, Asad Shafiq 85; Zafar Gohar 2-37, Ahmed Bashir 2-50, Mohammad Ali 2-61); CENTRAL PUNJAB 283-6 in 48.3 overs (Tayyab Tahir 93, Raza Ali Dar 71, Qasim Akram 44 not out, Zafar Gohar 28 not out, Usman Salahuddin 27; Hassaan Khan 2-53, Mohammad Asghar 2-57).
Thursday’s fixture: First semi-final —Sindh vs Central Punjab (SBP Sports Complex, Karachi, 9:30am PST).—Khalid H. Khan
(Tabulated under played, won, lost, points, net run-rate):
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 10 6 4 12 +0.316
Sindh 10 7 3 14 +0.823
Northern 10 5 5 10 -0.059
Central Punjab 10 5 5 10 -0.320
Southern Punjab 10 4 6 8 +0.008
Balochistan 10 3 7 6 -0.713