Azam Maqbool Sheikh
KARACHI: Helped by a polished knock of 71 by skipper Tariq Aziz, Wapda registered a four-wicket victory over Gujranwala Division Cricket Association (GDCA) in a final round match of the National Bank One-day Cricket Tournament at the National Stadium here Thursday. It was Wapda's third straight win in the final round, which also ensured their place in the semi-finals.
Needing 224 runs for victory, Wapda were well served by Tariq Aziz and Ijaz Mahmood, who put their team on victory road with a fine stand of 73 for the second wicket after opener Adil Nisar was out for a duck. Tariq Aziz hit six boundaries in his knock of 71 off 89 balls while Ijaz Mahmood hammered five fours and a towering six in scoring 42 off 57 balls. Both were, however, dismissed by medium-pacer Imran Amin who also accounted for Hasan Adnan for 40 to finish with fine figures of 3 for 38 off 10 overs. Bilal Khilji and Shahid Manzoor also played useful knocks of 27 and 18 runs, respectively.
Earlier, Gujranwala managed a total of 223 after their captain elected to bat first. Azim Munir and Rizwan Malik steadied the innings with a stand of 77 for the second wicket after GDCA lost an early wicket of Imran Zahoor at 8. They were heading for a formidable total at 85 for one but their charge was halted by some fine show by the Wapda bowlers. GDCA were left struggling at 115 for five after they lost four wickets for the addition of only 30 runs. They were in danger of getting bowled out for less than 200 after losing the sixth wicket at 132 and seventh at 159 before all-rounder Bilal Hussain provided some respectability to the score. Bilal blasted three huge sixes and four fours in his 67-ball innings of 57. Aamir Butt remained not out for 23 off 26 balls, which also included a four.
Leg-spinner Shafique Ahmed was pick of the Wapda bowlers with figures of 3 for 43 while Ijaz Mahmood also bowled well to finish with 2/39 off nine overs. Tariq Aziz, Sarfraz Ahmed and Raees Amjad got one wicket apiece.