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Faisalabad to battle with Karachi Blues in Quaid-E-Azam Trophy Grade-II Cricket Tournament 2018/19 finale

Karachi Blues and Faisalabad were decided to play the final of Quaid-E-Azam Trophy Grade-II Cricket Tournament 2018/19 after both semi-finals were drawn yesterday at different venues.

With play already washed out on the first day of the three-day Faisalabad versus Abbottabad clash at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad, it was inevitable the side taking lead on the first innings would go through.  Abbottabad, who were 193-6 on Saturday, were eventually all out for 220 with Aitzaz Habib finishing unbeaten on 80. Hus 133-ball knock included 12 fours and one six. 

Discarded Pakistan paceman Ehsan Adil claimed two more wickets on Saturday to end up with 4-36 in 15.5 overs. Faisalabad rattled up 255-2 in 64 overs in their reply. Out-of-favor Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad set the tone with a stroke-filled 57 with his 84-ball innings featuring 10 boundaries as the right-hander outscored Shahid Siddique in their first-wicket partnership of 89 in 119 minutes. 

Seasoned Khurram Shehzad then joined Shahid in another decisive stand which was worth 125 before Shahid was caught by Abbottabad skipper Adnan Raees off spinner Aitzaz for an excellent 87. The young opener’s 170-ball contribution in 236 minutes included 11 fours. Khurram continued to strike the ball well as he reached an undefeated 88 from 113 deliveries in 137 minutes with the aid of nine fours and a brace of sixes. Abubakar Khan (16) helped Khurram add 41 for the unfinished third-wicket partnership. 

On the other hand, Karachi Blues missed the chance of sealing an outright win against Azad Jammu Kashmir at the Mirpur Cricket Stadium after deciding to bat on until Asad Shafiq declared at 351-9 after the visitors had garnered a commanding lead of 238. Resuming at 277-5 in response to AJK’s 113, Karachi Blues batted for 12.1 overs in which they scored 74 runs. Ramiz Aziz, who began day three on 116, was caught behind by Farhan Raja for 135 off paceman Shadab Majeed who took all four wickets to fall on Sunday. The left-hander’s 163-ball knock contained 15 fours and two sixes. Akbar-ur-Rehman was the main beneficiary for the visiting side as the right-hander blasted a quickfire 50 off 61 balls with four boundaries. Shadab finished with magnificent analysis of 8-116 in 23.1 overs. 

AJK then survived 60 overs as they collected 151-6 in their second innings with skipper Sardar Hasan Raza remaining unbeaten on a 94-ball 48 (four fours), while opener Usman Maroof hit a 73-ball 37 (four fours). Slow left-armer Mohammad Asghar claimed three wickets for 55 runs in 22 overs. 

The four-day final will be played at the Mirpur Cricket Stadium from this week's Wednesday.

Scores and results (final day of three):

At Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad: Match drawn — no play on Friday due to rain.
*FAISALABAD 255-2 in 64 overs (Khurram Shehzad 88 not out, Shahid Siddique 87, Ahmed Shehzad 57). 

At Mirpur Cricket Stadium, Mirpur (AJK): Match drawn.

AZAD JAMMU KASHMIR: 113 in 52.2 overs (Sardar Hasan Raza 37; Mir Hamza 7-36, Ghulam Mudassar 2-27) and 151-6 in 60 overs (Sardar Hasan Raza 48 not out, Usman Maroof 37; Mohammad Asghar 3-55);
*KARACHI BLUES 351-9 declared in 81.1 overs (Ramiz Aziz 135, Asad Shafiq 71, Akbar-ur-Rehman 50, Jaahid Ali 39, Ali Asad 29; Shadab Majeed 8-116).

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