Bahawalpur Royals set a date with Gwadar Sharks in the Pakistan Junior League final on the back of Basit Ali’s 91 not out to down Mardan Warriors by nine wickets in the tournament’s second qualifier at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
Opting to bowl first, the Royals restricted the Warriors to only 132/9 from their 20 overs as their bowler kept finding breakthroughs at the crucial junctions of the game.
Shahzaib Khan (17) and Geroge Thomas (32) managed to give the Warriors a decent start with a 38-run opening partnership before Mohammad Farooq (24) and Thomas added another 39-run stand to give Mardan a solid foundation at 77-2.
The acceleration phase never materialised as the bowlers put the clamps on the Warriors who slumped to 114 for seven at one stage before Daud Nazar’s 23 helped them reach 132 from their allotted overs.
Arham Nawab, Obaid Shah and Mohammad Zeeshan each finished with two wickets apiece for the bowling side while Sajjad Ali managed to snag one.
In reply, Bahawalpur Royals got off to a shaky start after Shawaiz Irfan was dismissed for 4 with just 16 on the board.
That was the only success the Warriors’ bowling lineup had for the rest of the game as the tournament’s highest run scorer Basit Ali and one down Tayyab Arif (32 runs) stitched a boundary-laden unbroken stand of 117 to see their side home with ease.
Bahawalpur Royals will now take on the team which got the better of them in the first qualifier, Gwadar Sharks, in the inaugural Pakistan Junior Final today at 6:00 P.M (PKT)