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News

Intriguing Quaid-i-Azam Trophy final in prospect

An enthralling battle is on the cards when Karachi Whites and Peshawar clash in the final of the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy Grade-I National Cricket Championship at National Stadium from Friday

Khalid H. Khan
01-Mar-2002
An enthralling battle is on the cards when Karachi Whites and Peshawar clash in the final of the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy Grade-I National Cricket Championship at National Stadium from Friday.
The five-day encounter, which will be televised live by PTV with Radio Pakistan also making arrangements for ball-by-ball coverage, is a repeat of the 1998-99 final. On that occasion, Peshawar clinched their first major title with an innings victory inside four days under Kabir Khan's captaincy.
Karachi Whites, winners of three of the 16 crowns claimed by the city, finished runners-up five times in the last eight seasons. Their last success in the oldest first-class championship of the country was achieved as long ago as 1992-93.
Moin Khan, the former Test skipper, leads a young Karachi Whites squad which faces a test of character against Peshawar who have definite edge in pace bowling department.
Fazle Akbar has fond memories of the corresponding final four seasons ago at the same venue when he claimed 10 wickets in the match, including a hat trick in the first innings.
Now at the age of 22 and sporting a beard, Fazle has matured into a devastating user of the new ball. His tally of 93 first-class wickets this season, including 52 in the championship, speaks volume of his consistency. But despite being the leading wicket-taker, he is constantly denied a recall to the national side.
Fazle's regular partner, Kabir Khan, another Test reject, is a vastly-experienced pacer and adds variety with his left-arm fast-medium with a haul of 53 scalps. They are complimented by Waqar Ahmed, a diminutive left-arm quickie who was the leading bowler in the Patron's Trophy last year with 51 wickets. But despite boasting 74 wickets in th season, Waqar is competing with Umer Gul for the third pacer's spot. Umer, 17, captured 11 wickets in five matches in the recent Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand.
The Whites are handicapped by the enforced absence of paceman Mohammad Sami and all-rounder Shahid Afridi. Both are in Lahore where the national camp starts Friday in preparation of next week's Asian Test Championship final against Sri Lanka.
Tanvir Ahmed with 69 wickets, including 50 in Quaid Trophy, is the man on whom Moin will reply heavily with the new ball. The supporting cast includes Mohammad Hasnain, Ovais Athar and all-rounder Imran Javed.
For Danish Kaneria, this is an ideal opportunity to make up for his huge disappointment in last year's final against dethroned champions Lahore Blues. The Test leg-spinner bowled a solitary over for 21 runs in the that game.
On the batting front, Karachi Whites look more formidable with Ghulam Ali, Hasan Raza and Saeed bin Nasir all passing 1,000 runs for the season.
Saeed, a 22-year-old right-hander, is a player who is capable of progressing through the ranks and stake his claims at the highest level.
Left-handed opening batsman Shadab Kabir after a successful Patron's Trophy season with Customs was abruptly shown the door after being recalled to the Test side for the tour of Bangladesh at the start of the year. He will be itching to prove the selectors wrong once again.
Peshawar were facing a dilemma at the time of filing this report with two of their key batsmen stuck up in Lahore for various reasons. Akhtar Sarfraz, the left-hander, is almost certain to miss the game since his wife is expecting their second child.
Opener Riffatullah was making a last-minute efforts to catch a flight Thursday night after Wapda finally agreed to release him from their inter-departmental tournament.
The toss virtually decided the fate of the previous final, which lasted only three days, on a pitch that assisted the pacers throughout. But in sharp contrast, the current strip, which is bone hard, should encourage the batsmen to play with freedom and later assist the spinners. The outfield looks in immaculate condition, thanks to the tireless efforts of NSK's chief curator Ahsan Arain and his able team.
The team winning the toss in all probability, may opt to field first to take advantage of the moisture at the start of the match.
Ideally, a score in the region of 275-325 in the first innings would be enough for either team to put pressure on the other.
Teams (from):
Karachi Whites: Moin Khan (captain), Ghulam Ali, Shadab Kabir, Saeed bin Nasir, Hasan Raza, Mohammad Masroor, Imran Javed, Arif Mahmood, Tanvir Ahmed, Mohammad Hasnain, Danish Kaneria, Irfanuddin, Ovais Athar, Adnan Malik, Ariz Kamal, Saif Ashraf, Farhan Iqbal.
Peshawar: Arshad Khan (captain), Aftab Khan, Riffatullah, Yasir Hameed, Wajahatullah Wasti, Akhtar Sarfraz, Taimur Khan, Zulfiqar Jan, Kabir Khan, Fazle Akbar, Waqar Ahmed, Umer Gul, Javed Iqbal, Nauman Habib, Zeeshan Mohsin, Abrar Ahmed.
Umpires: Mohammad Nazir Junior and Iftikhar Malik.
TV umpire: Afzaal Ahmed.
Match referee: Munawwar Agha.