RAWALPINDI - Anwar Ali batted Karachi Whites to 4-wicket victory over Peshawar in the National Twenty20 Cup 2017-18 match played here at Pindi Stadium on Sunday.

Anwar Ali displayed great technique and skills during the match and emerged as man-of-the-match. With his performances, he is also knocking at the selectors’ doors for his due place in the national team. Karachi was in dire strides at one stage, as they needed 50 runs for victory with 5 wickets in hand in 29 balls. Anwar, along with skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, ensured Karachi reached home safely with 2 balls to spare. Sarfraz simply threw his wicket, when scores were level and Karachi just needed one run for win but Anwar batted bravely and guided his to win.

Anwar’s unbeaten 41-run innings included 3 fours and 2 sixes while he was ably assisted by Akbar-ur-Rehman (29) and Sarfraz Ahmed (28). Mussadiq, Kashif and Sohail Khan got one wicket apiece. With this defeat, Peshawar chances of reaching semifinals were all but over.

Earlier, Karachi Whites skipper Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and opted to field first on slightly overcast conditions. It turned out to be a decent choice, as Peshawar, despite starting off superbly, failed to capitalise and posted just 155-7 on the board. Israrullah and Riffatullah Mohmand hit half centuries, but after their departure, no one could face Karachi bowlers well and lost their wickets cheaply.

Israrullah scored back-to-back half centuries as his 50 came in only 31 balls with the help of 3 fours and 4 sixes, while his opening partner Riffatullah slammed 33-ball 50 hitting 6 fours and 2 sixes and skipper Zohaib Khan contributed unbeaten 21. Part-time bowler Asad Shafiq was pick of Karachi bowlers, as he bagged 2-7, while left-arm spinner Azam Hussain took 2-29. Zulfiqar Babar, Ruman Raees and Anwar Ali got one wicket each.

In the first match of the day, Rawalpindi Region suffered third defeat in the event, as they were thrashed by Lahore Whites by 28 runs. Whites skipper Test discarded Salman Butt won the toss and decided to bat first. They posted 178-7 with wicketkeeper batsman Kamran Akmal smashing 37-ball 65 with the help of 7 fours and 4 sixes and his younger brother Umar Akmal scoring 24-ball 33 hitting 2 fours and as many sixes while Sami Aslam hit 27. Sohail Tanveer and M Nawaz took 2 wickets each.

Chasing 179 runs for victory, Rawalpindi could score 158-8 in the allotted overs. It was third defeat for the local team, as first they lost to Islamabad, then to Karachi Whites and now to Lahore. They were highly fortunate to escape defeat against Peshawar, as rain came to their rescue. Rawalpindi coach Sabih Azhar made three changes for the match as  he finally realised that Fawad Alam is not a T20 player and gave him rest, while man-in-form Nasir Nawaz and Irfan Junior were also replaced with Ahsan Ali, Zain Abbas and M Asghar. But all these changes couldn’t change the luck for Rawalpindi. Skipper Umar Amin was top scorer with 35 while M Nawaz made unbeaten 27 and Zain Abbas 26. Bilal Asif and Umaid Asif took 2 wickets each.

It was once again highly disappointing crowd at the venue despite Sunday, even the Rawalpindi Region team, which is mainly based on outsiders, failed to pull handful of spectators. Tournament organising committee chairman Haroon Rasheed kept mum for the ninth day in running and didn’t even bother to reach the venue. Despite sit-in by religious organization, the masses are coming in numbers, but due to non-availability of tickets and passes, they have to face the police wrath at different entrance points. It is shocking that PCB chairman Najam Sethi is sleeping and not ready to check the poor state of affairs.

It was very unfortunate that a passionate dumb and deaf spectator, who covered a lot of distance and holding aloft national flag, was also stopped by the security guards. The poor guy was almost crying, but no one had mercy on him. After some time, some journalists interfered and helped him let in. The poor man visited media centre and tried to convey the sports journalists about his feelings. He demanded PCB chairman Najam Sethi to provide him justice.