Shiekhupura reserved for themselves a berth in the Final of the One-day tournament (Associations) after achieving a convincing 68-run victory over Rawalpindi in the second semi-final, played at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
The main architects in Sheikhupura's 6th consecutive win in the competition were Kashif Raza, with his magnificent 4-wicket haul, and the middle order batsmen Mohammad Ayub and Mohammad Haroon, who rescued their side from a vulnerable position of 4 for 79 with a timely 96-run partnership.
After getting off to a blazing start, featuring a fine 37 off 25 balls by Imran Nazir, Sheikhupura lost four quick wickets, as Naeem Akhtar (3 for 56) found inroads in their upper order. It was at this junction that Ayub (58 off 107 balls) and Haroon (40 off 82 balls) joined together to not only steer their side out of trouble, but also provide a firm platform for the lower order to find some quick runs in the end.
The charge was duly taken over by Sarfraz Kazmi and Nasim Abbas, as the two collected 80 runs in the last ten overs, thus, closing the Sheikhupura innings at 250 for 7 in 50 overs.
Scoring 251 at slightly over 5 runs an over was never going to be easy for Rawalpindi, especially after Kashif Raza had struck very early. After getting rid of Hashim Iqbal in only the second over of the innings, he accounted for Naeem Akhtar in the next, reducing the opposition to 22 for 2. He struck for the third time in his first spell, when he clean bowled Nauman Aman.
Meanwhile, skipper Aaqib Javed also claimed two wickets to reduce Rawalpindi to 73 for 6 by the 15th over, a position from which they did never recover despite determined knocks by Nadeem Abbasi (49 off 73) and Tassawar Hussain (34 off 70).
However, once Kashif, operating in his second spell, had got rid of Nadeem Abbasi, the remaining amount of resistance just left their ranks. They were eventually all out for 182 in the 45th over, when the last man Junaid Zia was stumped off the bowling of left-armer Qaiser Abbas.
Sheikhupura meet Karachi Whites, the winner of the first semi-final, in the final, to be played at Gaddafi Stadium on 13 May.
Sheikhupura vs Rawalpindi
One Day Tournament (Associations)
Pakistan Domestic Season