April 10, 2000

HBL and KRL to clash in NBP Cup final

Azam Maqbool Sheikh

LAHORE: Saleem Elahi and Taufeeq Umer hit fine fifties to steer Habib Bank Limited to an easy seven-wicket victory over Customs in the second semi-final of the NBP Cup One-day Cricket Tournament at the Gaddafi Stadium here Monday. The bankers will now meet Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) in the final of the tournament to be played at the same venue on April 13.

Chasing a modest victory target of 190, the bankers' task was made easier by Saleem Elahi, who following his three hundreds in the group matches, hit a sparkling 74 and young Taufeeq Umer who remained unbeaten at 58. Fazl-e-Akbar grabbed two wickets for Customs.

After being put into bat by the toss-winning HBL skipper Saleem Malik, Customs failed to cope with some fine bowling of the bankers and were bowled out for 189. In-form pacer Sajid Shah bowled with nagging line and length to capture 3 for 21 off 10 overs followed by Shahid Nazir and Kabir Khan who claimed two wickets apiece for 30 and 34 runs respectively. Naseem Khan was the highest scorer for Customs with a fighting knock of 45 while paceman Fazl-e-Akbar (40) swung his bat late in the innings to give some respectability to the total.

Earlier, Khan Research Laboratories defeated WAPDA by eight wickets in the first semi-final played at the same venue on Sunday. So, the two top One-day teams in Pakistan vie for the new trophy. On paper the Bank looks like the stronger team but we need not dismiss the Labs so easily, they have fought back in the earlier games of this tourney to secure their final berth and are expected to spring a surprise.