Royals enter playoffs with resounding victory over Sharks
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Bahawalpur Royals became the third team to confirm a playoff spot in the Pakistan Junior League by registering a thumping eight-wicket win over Gwadar Sharks under the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore lights in the 12th match of the tournament on Friday.
Opener Tayyab Arif and Shawaiz Irfan added 70 runs in a match winning second-wicket partnership to steer their side to a commanding win in pursuit of a modest total. The right-handed Shawaiz was the aggressor in the outstanding partnership and played a series of power-packed shots against the hapless Sharks.
Tayyab, who was making his maiden appearance for his side, scored 41 off 33 balls (seven fours), he was run out with Royals requiring a mere two runs to win.
Shawaiz remained undefeated on 51 off 30 balls (seven fours, two sixes), the right-hander finished the match with a sumptuous shot over the covers. The Royals finished the match with as many as 32 balls left unused.
The Royals got off to a flier (120-run chase) through their in-form opener Basit Ali and new induction Tayyab Arif. Basit, who remains the lone centurion of the tournament, looked set for another big one before holing out to long-off. The right-hander hit four fours in his 24 (26 balls), Arafat Minhas dismissed him.
Earlier, Royals’ stand-in captain Arham Nawab won the toss and opted to bowl. The Sharks got off to a poor start as a fiery opening burst by pacer Mohammad Zeeshan had them rattled. Zeeshan dismissed Luc Martin Benkenstein (10) and Mohammad Zulkifal (6) in his opening two overs. Sharks captain Shamyl Hussain (1) was dismissed lbw by Sajjad Ali.
Sharks continued to lose wickets at regular intervals as Royals produced an outstanding fielding and bowling performance. Danial Ibrahim, batting at number three, contributed 25, he was sent packing by left-arm-spinner Nangeyalia Kharote. Saad Masood scored a run-a-ball 20. Sharks in-form all-rounder Arafat (12) had a rare failure, he became Nangeyalia’s second victim.
Haseeb Nazim top-scored in what was otherwise an unimpressive batting display for the Sharks. Haseeb’s 26 came off 23 balls and included a four and a six. Sharks finished their 20 overs at 119 for eight.
Nangeyalia, Zeeshan and Sajjad took two wickets apiece. Sharks, Royals and Warriors have all accumulated six points from their first four matches. The trio will now compete for the top-two playoff spots. The top two teams on the points table will clash in the Qualifier 1 on Tuesday, 18 October.
Scores in brief
Match 12 Bahawalpur Royals beat Gwadar Sharks by eight wickets
Gwadar Sharks 119 for 8, 20 overs (Haseeb Nazim 26, Danial Ibrahim 25; Nangeyalia Kharote 2-20, Mohammad Zeeshan 2-27, Sajjad Ali 2-27)
Bahawalpur Royals 122 for 2, 14.4 overs (Shawaiz Irfan 51 not out, Mohammad Tayyab Arif 41, Basit Ali 24; Arafat Minhas 1-15)
Player of the match: Mohammad Tayyab Arif (Bahawalpur Royals).