ISLAMABAD-The four-day final of the Patron’s Trophy Grade-II Tournament will commence at the Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi today (Thursday). State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Higher Education Commission (HEC) sealed their places in the final after two contrasting semifinals.

The star-studded State Bank outfit outplayed Pakistan Navy with-in two days to sail through the final, HEC on the other hand had to fight till the very last moments of the third day to overcome Sabir’s Poultry in the other semifinal.

Sabir’s Poultry had set HEC a 201-run target in the final two sessions of the match, their bowlers then reduced HEC to 112 for eight before the match was declared a draw as the Sabir’s Poultry bowlers ran out of time to dismiss the opposition and claim an outright win. HEC qualified for the final on the basis of their six-run first innings lead.

HEC captain Asfand Mehran is looking forward to a competitive final against State Bank. He hopes that his team will continue the good work in the big game. “The Almighty has blessed us with a place in the final. This has been a total team effort from HEC, I don’t want to single out anyone in particular as everyone including the management, the reserve players and the eleven that has featured in the games leading up to the final have put in a big effort.

“We hope to continue the same way against a formidable opponent in the final. State Bank will be a challenge for us but I have full confidence in my players,” said HEC captain.

State Bank is being captained by Pakistan ODI batsman Saad Ali who made his international debut in the recently concluded ODI series against Australia in the UAE. Saad praised his team’s combined effort and is hopeful of a similar show in the final.

“We have performed well, I am happy with my own performance, the likes of Mohammad Nawaz, Usman Salahuddin have done very well with the bat. Among the bowlers Mohammad Ilyas, Taj Wali and Basit have shown great commitment and skill. Nawaz has chipped in as an all-rounder for us. “We are one match away from winning the title and are focused on the game. I also want to thank our management for their unflinching support throughout the season.” Saad said.

Saad has contributed 349 runs in five innings so far with the help of one century. The tournament’s batting charts are topped by Sabir’s Poultry batsman Mohammad Imran who amassed 450 runs at 64.29 in eight innings with the help of one century.

PIA’s Shehzar Mohammad is at the second spot, in five innings, the opening batsman scored 365 runs with the help of two centuries, his tournament average stands at 91.25. HEC top scorer is right-handed batsman Fahad Usman. In seven innings before the final, Fahad scored 343 runs at 57.17, including two centuries.

Sabir’s Poultry fast bowler Nisar Ahmad is on the top of the bowling charts, the right-armer claimed 28 wickets in four matches at 16.04. Civil Aviation Authority’s Ahsan Jamil collected 25 wickets in three games at 14.84. Mohammad Ilyas has taken 20 wickets in four games for State Bank while HEC’s best bowler is Mamoon Riaz with a tally of 17 wickets in four games. The match officials of the final are Nasar Khan and Muhammad Kaleem fielf umpires, Ali Naqvi match referee and Shakeel Ahmed official scorer.