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Hafeez, Sami inspire Federal Areas to Pakistan Cup glory

CricketHafeez, Sami inspire Federal Areas to Pakistan Cup glory

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Cup winners Federal Areas pose with the trophy.
RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Cup winners Federal Areas pose with the trophy.

KARACHI: Mohammad Hafeez and Sami Aslam produced telling performances to enable Federal Areas clinch the Cool & Cool presents QMobile Pakistan Cup with a thrilling last-ball victory by one wicket in the final at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi late on Saturday (partly reported in Sunday’s edition).

What seemed a cakewalk win in the chase for 324 when Sami and Hafeez had laid the foundation with a second-wicket partnership of 158 in 140 balls became a jitter as Federal Areas stumbled thereafter until Sarmad Bhatti struck the last delivery of a pulsating encounter to the boundary to seal the trophy, which was presented by the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Mohammad Khan along with the winners’ cheque of Rs2 million to a triumphant skipper Imad Wasim.

Fakhar Zaman, the Balochistan captain, had to console himself with the runners-up trophy plus Rs1 million. Hafeez was richer by Rs100,000 after being named man-of-the-match as the competition’s best batsman for his tally of 362 runs.

Balochistan all-rounder Aamir Yamin also pocketed a brace of Rs50,000 prizes when he was declared the best bowler and the best all-rounder of the event for his combined efforts of claiming nine wickets and scoring 163 runs.

Just like in the league-round fixture between these teams, Federal Areas trumped Balochistan but in contrast to last Wednesday’s clash when the former won with considerable ease, the title-decider went down to the wire.

Federal areas losing Abid Ali early on was just the start Balochistan were hoping for but their plans for more wickets were thwarted by Sami and Hafeez.

Hafeez called up his huge experience to calm the Federal Areas camp with a breathtaking innings of 83 from 75 balls with nine boundaries and a brace of sixes before occasional spinner Rameez Aziz had the veteran Pakistan right-hander caught by Agha Salman in the 27th over.

Discarded Test opener Sami followed up his swashbuckling 169 against the same opponents by helping himself to a run-a-ball knock of 109, which was punctuated with 13 fours and one six. He was fifth man dismissed at 239 in the 40th over after having seen Haris Sohail (1) and Imad (21) depart.

Hussain Talat (36 off 27 balls, three fours and one six) and Zohaib Ahmed (29 off 23, three boundaries) added 49 for the sixth wicket before both of them got out in the space of 12 runs.

Balochistan then succeeded in taking two more wickets but somehow Sarmad, playing his first game of the tournament, kept his nerves under control to see Federal Areas over the line by striking left-arm paceman Zia-ul-Haq for the winning runs after scores were levelled.

Earlier in the afternoon session of this day/night final Sahibzada Farhan slammed a maiden one-day century — 112 off 94 balls with the aid of 11 boundaries and four sixes — to propel Balochistan to 323-9 after Federal Areas opted to field first at the toss.

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