Clinical India seal berth in final with 32-run win
It was restrictive bowling at its best as ICL India XI, led by Ali Murtaza's miserly spell of 2 for 22 in four overs, shut Pakistan out of the contest after an aggressive start in their chase of 177
India XI 176 for 6 (Tejinder 52, Khaleel 35) beat Pakistan XI 144 for 6 (Raza 46, Murtaza 2-22, Vignesh 3-22) by 32 runs
It was restrictive bowling at its best as ICL India XI, led by Ali Murtaza's miserly spell of 2 for 22 in four overs, shut Pakistan XI out of the contest after an aggressive start in their chase of 177. Pakistan XI pinned their hopes on Imran Farhat and Hasan Raza to guide them through but were unable to cut loose against the slow bowlers and eventually ended on 144 for 6, 32 short of the target. The win sealed India XI's place in the final on Tuesday.
The win was setup by an attacking half-century by Tejinder Pal Singh, whose 52 off 32 balls piloted India XI to 176. Ibrahim Khaleel and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala added 66 for the second wicket before a doube-strike by Arshad Khan set them back at 84 for 3. Tejinder and S Abbas Ali staged a recovery with a blistering stand of 52 in just 4.4 overs. Abbas Ali hit two fours in his 22 before he was run-out by Abdul Razzaq at the bowler's end for backing up too far. Tejinder continued the assault and launched two sixes, including one which towered high over long-on. He fell for 52 off just 32 balls, bowled by Naved-ul-Hasan off the penultimate ball of the innings.
Pakistan XI suffered an early setback after Imran Nazir was forced to retire hurt early owing to a groin injury. Razzaq meanwhile launched the chase into overdrive, smashing seven fours and a six in his 38. G Vignesh, the medium pacer, then struck twice in the space of two overs, sending back the dangerous Razzaq to bring the Indians back into the contest.
Farhat and Raza came together with the score at 52 and for a lengthy period, ensured Pakistan didn't ensure any further loss of wickets. However, the required rate began to climb once the left-arm spin duo of Murtaza and Syed Mohammad and the seamer T Kumaran operated in the middle overs, giving very little away. The odd six lifted Pakistan's spirits but the fluency was missing. India XI's fielding inside the circle was of a very high standard, forcing the batsmen to improvise. Cheeky glides to third man and straight drives were intercepted and the nagging stump-to-stump line by Murtaza only made life difficult for the pair as almost every slog failed to make contact with the bat. Farhat finally hit out in the 18th over, skying a catch to R Satish off Kumaran. Vignesh finished with the best figures for the Indians with 3 for 22 in four overs.
Pakistan XI needed an improbable 43 off the last two overs and the contest was effectively sealed. With India XI already in the final, tomorrow's match between Pakistan XI and World XI is a virtual semi-final.