LAHORE - Islamabad Region emerged as fourth semifinalists of the National T20 Cup 2018 after registering a comfortable 7-wicket victory against Multan Region here at Multan Stadium on Sunday.

Lahore Region Whites, Karachi Region Whites and Rawalpindi Region have already qualified for the last-four stage of the tournament. Rawalpindi Region were leaders in the points table with 10 points followed by Lahore Region Whites and Karachi Region Whites with both having eight points each while Islamabad completed the semifinals line up by earning 6 points with highest net rate of 0.140.

Islamabad Region won the toss and elected to field first. It was combined effort by Islamabad bowlers who restricted Multan Region to paltry 117 runs in 19 overs. Shahzad Azam was main wrecker-in-chief of Multan batting line up as he grabbed 3 wickets for 17 runs while international pacer Umer Gul and Ahmed Bashir bagged two wickets each conceding 27 and 23 respectively and Imad Wasim and Sohail Khan got one wicket apiece.

From Multan Region, only opener Zeeshan Malik played a sensible knock of 57 runs off 55 balls laced with five boundaries while none of their batsman could even cross the double figures, except wicketkeeper Waqar Hussain (13) and Muhammad Irfan Khan (10).

Islamabad Region replied strongly and chased down the required target of 118 runs for the loss of just three wickets in 16.4 overs. Abid Ali was emerged as hero of the day he played superb unbeaten knock of 51 runs off 48 balls with the help of five boundaries while he was ably assisted by last match’s hero Asif Ali, who played just 15 deliveries to gather hammer 33 runs studded with two fabulous fours and three smashing sixes.

For Multan, Zulfiqar Babar took 2 wickets for 26 and Bilawal Bhatti 1 for 29. For his brilliant batting display, Abid Ali was declared player of the match. Ahsan Raza and Adnan Rashid officiated the match field umpires while Rashid Riaz acted as TV umpire, Muhammad Anees referee and Muhammad Atiq official scorer.

Earlier in the first match of the day, leaders of the points table Rawalpindi Region overwhelmed Karachi Region Whites by eight wickets. Rawalpindi won the toss and opted to field first. Karachi Whites could manage to score 122-9 in their allotted 20 overs. Awais Zia was top scorer with 48 runs which he collected in 44 balls hitting seven boundaries. Fawad Alam also contributed significant 32 runs with the help of two fours. Sadaf Hussain was pick of the bowlers for Rawalpindi as he captured 3-24 while Mohammad Nawaz and Khalid Usman bagged two wickets each.

Rawalpindi took just 16 overs to chase down the target of 123 runs. Opener Naved Malik was severe with bat as he punished Karachi Whites bowlers at his will and emerged as star performer by hammering a half century. He played 36 balls to score 57 runs studded with five boundaries and three sixes. Another opener Nihal Mansoor first assisted Naved well and contributed 34 runs with the help of three fours and a six while skipper Umar Amin then added 28 runs in the total as landed his team home safely with eight wickets still in hand. Rahat Ali and Arshad Iqbal got one wicket apiece for Karachi Whites. Naved Malik was adjudged as player of the match for his brilliant batting performance.

The first semifinal of the tournament would be played between Rawalpindi Region and Karachi Whites while the second semifinal would be contested between Lahore Whites and Islamabad Region today (Monday) at Multan Cricket Stadium.

SCORES IN BRIEF:

SECOND MATCH

MULTAN REGION: 117 all out in 19 overs (Zeeshan Malik 57, 55 balls, 5x4s, Shahzad Azam 3-17, Umer Gul 2-27, Ahmed Bashir 2-23, Imad Wasim 1-21, Sohail Khan 1-24)

ISLAMABAD REGION: 119-3 in 16.4 overs (Abid Ali 51*, 48 balls, 5x4s, Asif Ali 33*, 15 balls, 2x4s, 3x6s, Zulfiqar Babar 2-26, Bilawal Bhatti 1-29)

FIRST MATCH

KARACHI REGION W: 122-9 in 20 overs (Awais Zia 48, 44 balls, 7x4s, Fawad Alam 32, 32 balls, 2x4s, Sadaf Hussain 3-24, Khalid Usman 2-17, Muhammad Nawaz 2-32, Hammad Azam 1-27) 

RAWALPINDI REGION: 125-2 in 16 overs (Naved Malik 57, 36 balls, 5x4s, 3x6s, Nihal Mansoor 34, 34 balls, 3x4s, 1x6, Umer Amin 28*, 19 balls, 4x4s, Arshad Iqbal 1-8, Rahat Ali 1-21).