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Pakistan Cup semifinals to be played over the weekend

Pakistan Cup final
Pakistan Cup final

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will aim to complete a hat-trick of Pakistan Cup final appearances when they will take on defending champions Balochistan in the second semi-final on Sunday, 1 January, at the State Bank Sports Complex.


However, in the first semi-final on Saturday at the State Bank Sports Complex will be a Punjab Derby when 2020-21 finalists and table-toppers Central Punjab will take on fourth-placed Southern Punjab. 

Southern Punjab, who were at the bottom of the table after the ninth and penultimate round, sneaked into the last four stage ahead of Sindh on net run-rate after defeating Northern by eight wickets. Mohammad Umair (four for 19) and Sharoon Siraj (three for 32) shared seven wickets between them to bowl Northern out for a modest 120, which Southern Punjab batters Mohammad Shehzad (60 not out) and Sharoon (37) chased down in 15.1 overs.

In the double round-robin league matches, Central Punjab won the opener by 25 runs before Southern Punjab drew level with a 97-run victory.

Central Punjab’s Tayyab Tahir (444 runs at 44.4) and Qasim Akram (396 at 44) and Ahmed Shehzad (361 at 45) have been the leading run-getters, while bowling honours have been shared between Usama Mir (22), Aamer Yamin (13) and Zafar Gohar (10).

In contrast, Southern Punjab’s Usman Salahuddin has been their lead run-getter with 339 runs at 48.4, while Arafat Minhas (291) and Zain Abbas (254) have been the other notable contributors. Amongst the wicket-takers, Hassan Khan is the pick of their bowler with 14, followed by Mohammad Ilyas (11) and Faisal Akram (10).

Sunday’s semi-final will be a repeat of the 2021-22 final when Balochistan defeated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by eight wickets. In the ongoing competition, it is 1-all between the two sides with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa winning by six wickets and Balochistan clinching the repeat match by seven wickets.

Balochistan’s Haseebullah is the leading run-getter of the Pakistan Cup with 504 runs at 50.4 with two centuries and three half-centuries. He is followed by Imran Butt (367) and Amad Butt (331), while wickets have been shared between Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Junaid (16 each) and Amad Butt and Yasir Shah (14 each).

For Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kamran Ghulam has been their most successful batter with 435 runs, while Waqar Ahmed (375), Sahibzada Farhan (189) and Khushdil Shah (186) have been useful contributions. Ihsanullah with 24 wickets has been their star bowler, followed by Mohammad Amir Khan (11) and Sajid Khan (nine).

Players who have been named amongst 24 probables for the New Zealand ODIs based on their Pakistan Cup performances, will continue to feature in the semifinals and final. These players are: Aamer Jamal (Northern), Fakhar Zaman (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Haris Sohail (Balochistan), Ihsanullah (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mohammad Haris (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Naseem Shah (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Qasim Akram (Central Punjab) and Tayyab Tahir (Central Punjab)

Semi-final line-up:

31 December (1st semi-final) - Central Punjab v Southern Punjab, State Bank Sports Complex

1 January (2nd semi-final) - Balochistan v Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, State Bank Sports Complex

2 January (final) - State Bank Sports Complex

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