Azam, Qadir take Pakistan to final
Pakistan Under-23s 232 for 9 (Hammad Azam 66*, Aponso 3-31) beat Sri Lanka Under-23s 230 for 7 (Jayasundera 94, Qadir 5-32) by 1 wicket
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Pakistan Under-23s pulled off a thrilling one-wicket win against Sri Lanka Under-23s to set up a title clash against India on Sunday in the ACC Emerging Teams Cup in Singapore.
Set a target of 231 for victory, Pakistan had a bad start, losing Babar Azam off the first ball of the innings. The teams were evenly matched for most part of the chase as Sri Lanka struck with quick wickets right after the Pakistan batsmen had managed to get a partnership going. A fifth-wicket stand between Usman Salahuddin and Mohammad Nawaz, worth 57 runs, steadied the chase, after they were 61 for 4 in the 16th over, but Sri Lanka fought back with three quick wickets, dismissing Nawaz, Salahuddin and Raza Hassan.
The chase came to rest on Hammad Azam, who batted well with the lower order. He took his time settling down when Bilawal Bhatti hit a quickfire 21-ball 25, but assumed charge of the innings once Bhatti and Usman Qadir were out with the score at 200 for 9. With Pakistan needing 30 off 48 balls, Azam began taking most of the strike and hit regular boundaries to keep the side in with a chance.
With 13 required off the last two overs, Azam finished the match in the 49th over, scoring the winning runs with a six over fine leg. He finished on unbeaten on 66 off 69 balls with two fours and three sixes.
Earlier, legspinner Usman Qadir's five-wicket haul helped rein in Sri Lanka after the openers had given them a strong start. Udara Jayasundera and Shehan Jayasuriya added 81 in 14.4 overs, their third fifty-plus opening stand in the tournament, to give Sri Lanka a good start after they chose to bat. Qadir had success soon after being introduced in the 13th over, taking a simple return catch off Jayasuriya. He dried up the runs with some tight bowling and dismissed Kithuruwan Vithanage and Niroshan Dickwell to finish his first spell with figures of 7-2-19-3.
Jayasundera's fifty and a 48-run stand with Rumesh Buddika for the fifth wicket, helped steady the Sri Lankan innings. Once the pair was out, the lower order, led by Charith Jayampathi scored quick runs to take the side to 230 for 7.