Lahore Lions hold off Sialkot to reach final
Lahore Lions 232 all out (Siddiq 59, Nasim 55*, Bhatti 3-40, Abbas 3-38) beat Sialkot Stallions 192 all out (Yousaf 40, Ashraf 4-33) by 46 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Lahore Lions beat Sialkot Stallions by 46 runs in a rain-affected match to secure a spot in the Faysal Bank One-Day Cup final, which will be at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on March 23. Saad Nasim's late unbeaten half-century proved the difference as Lahore Lions posted a fighting total.
An overcast day led Sialkot to opt to field first. Lahore Lions were reduced to 31 for 2, losing their captain, Azhar Ali, and Raza Ali Dar, for ducks. Umar Saddiq (59) and Usman Salahuddin (44) held their nerve though, stringing together a 62-run partnership for the third wicket. However, rain intervened during the innings to reduce the overs to 44 a side.
Salahuddin anchored another 60-run stand, for the fourth wicket, with Fahad-ul-Haq (32) to keep things on track before Lahore Lions' middle order slumped, losing five wickets for 30 runs.
Nasim fought hard as he waged a lone battle to keep Lahore Lions in the game. He smacked eight boundaries including four sixes in his unbeaten 55 off 44 balls, muscling his side to a respectable 232. Bilawal Bhatti and Nayyer Abbas took three wickets each.
Requiring 5.2 runs per over, Sialkot replied confidently, with Mukhtar Ahmed clubbing two back-to-back boundaries in the very first over. But Sialkot began to stall as they were reduced to 117 for 6 inside of 29 overs. Shahid Yousuf (40) along with Ali Khan (36) resisted for a while, but the required rate was getting out of hand.
Abbas (20) and Ali battled for a 42-run cameo stand for the seventh wicket, but were pinned down by Lahore Lions' disciplined bowling. They eventually were dismissed for 192, with Ashraf being the pick of the bowlers with 4 for 33.
Karachi Zebras and Karachi Dolphins will go head to head tomorrow at the same venue to decide who Lahore Lions will face on Saturday.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent