Oct 03, 2023 Sports
Kaieteur Sports – KARACHI: Skipper Abdul Razzaq’s epic knock of 195 in the semifinals took Pakistan into the final of the inaugural MCW Over40 Cricket Global Cup 2023, setting up a date with West Indies in the title clash on Monday, while Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates (UAE), who emerged triumphant in playoffs, will contest the plate final on Sunday.
In the semifinals, Pakistan overwhelmed Australia by a staggering margin of 252 runs here at National Bank Stadium and West Indies overpowered United States of America (USA) by three wickets at NBP Sports Complex. In the playoffs, United Arab Emirates (UAE) edged out Canada by three wickets at Southend Club and Hong Kong outgunned Nepal by eight wickets at Moin Khan Academy.
Australia and USA, the losing semifinalists, will be pitted against each other in the classification match to decide third position here at NBP Sports Complex while Canada and Nepal will be featuring in the game to decide seventh position here at Southend Club. Both these matches will be held on Sunday.
The awesome power hitting of Abdul Razzaq, known for tearing apart the best of bowling attacks on his day, was the highlight of the semifinal at National Bank Stadium. Opening the innings, he hammered as many as 11 sixes besides 22 fours in his 112-ball 195, adding 299 for first wicket in 36 overs with fellow opener Amjad Ali, who also scored a century, smashing a six and 12 fours in his 103 off 102 balls. A whirlwind 23-ball 67 from Tassawar Abbas took Pakistan to an amazing total of 400 for six in the allotted 45 overs.
The Australians didn’t seem to have any realistic hope of getting to the target of 401 although they had lifted their game considerably after an uncertain start in the tournament. Left-arm Abdul Qadir’s five-wicket haul prevented any heroics from their batsmen and they were bowled out for 148 in 27.5 overs.
In the other semifinal, West Indies was indebted to off-spinner Mahendra Nagamootoo, who grabbed six wickets in his spell of seven overs, which broke the back of USA batting and allowed his teammates the luxury of chasing down a modest total. USA looked in sight of a competitive total after another wonderful half-century from captain Muhammad Farrukh but they collapsed from 98 for two to 146 all out in 37.1 overs.
West Indies were made to fight hard and they lost seven wickets in pursuit of the target of 147 despite a solid knock from Devon Clements (47 off 74 balls). The spin duo of Farrukh (2-35) and Irfan Rabbani (2-19) kept the match alive until the end.
Naeem Khan trumped Aftab Qaiser’s terrific all-round performance to help UAE outwit Canada by three wickets after an exciting playoff contest. Aftab (68 off 82 balls) and Badar-e-Munir (54 off 53 balls) added 102 for fourth wicket as Canada amassed 250 for eight in the allotted 45 overs despite fine spin bowling from Naeem (3-43) and Biju Nair (2-36).
The off-spin of Aftab brought UAE down from 59 for no loss to 69 for four. Staring defeat when sixth wicket went down at 133, they were revived by the 85-run seventh-wicket partnership between Naeem and Azhar Gul. Naeem got UAE over the line, scoring 48 off 64 balls, and he was adjudged Man of the Match.
Najeeb Amar’s stunning all-round effort for Hong Kong highlighted the other playoff, as his unbeaten century followed by a five-wicket haul crushed Nepal by eight wickets. He remained undefeated on 126 off 83 balls, striking three sixes and 17 fours, dominating the 176-run second wicket stand with Ankur Vasishta (70 off 73 balls) as their team raced to the target of 224 with more than 17 overs to spare.
Earlier, Najeeb returned highly impressive figures of five for 30 with his left-arm spin which restricted Nepal to 223 for six after being strongly placed at 171 for one. Opener Rabin Joshi (76 off 110 balls) was the top scorer for Nepal once more with Suman Udaya (57 off 79 balls) and Ram Naresh Yadav (41 off 48 balls) also chipping in with notable contributions.
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