Karachi: Defending Champions Karachi Omar Associates cruised into the zonal semifinal of the 17th National Seniors Cup Cricket Tournament 2015 after beating Karachi Gymkhana by four wickets in the quarterfinals here at the Karachi Gymkhana Cricket Ground.
A record number of 109 teams from all over the country entered the annual tournament, being organized by the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA), and sponsored by IMI Omar (Pvt) Ltd and ArifHabib Group.
Batting first Karachi Gymkhana was all out for 157 on the last ball of their inning. Set to chase 158 in 25 overs, Karachi Omar Associates reached the target in the 23rd over with four wickets in hand.
Off-spinner Saifullah Magsi put Karachi Omar Associates in commanding position by dismissing Karachi Gymkhana’s three top-order batsmen in his spell of five overs. He was adjudged Man of the Match for his figures of three for 22.
Karachi Gymkhana recovered through Mazhar Hussain (50 off 36 balls), RaoTahir (29 off 25 balls) and Rehan Malik (22 off 22 balls) to reach a fighting total of 157. Left-arm spinner JafferQureshi picked up a couple of wickets while there was a wicket each for Mohammad Yousuf, Iqbal Shaikh and Mahmood Khan.
Chasing a target of 158, Karachi Omar Associates lost the prized scalp of opener Sajid Ali early but the damage was repaired by Azhar Khan (68 off 34 balls) and JafferQureshi (27 off 25 balls), who added 70 for the second wicket.
Azhar Khan smashed four sixes and eight fours in his breezy knock which allowed the defending champions to stay ahead of the clock even after losing a few wickets in rapid succession in the middle of their inning. Karachi Omar Associates reached the target with 14 deliveries to spare.
Off-spinner AkhtarMunir (2-23) was the pick of the Karachi Gymkhana bowlers with Dr Asjad, Kamran Hussain and RaoTahir being the other successful bowlers.
Defending champions Karachi Omar Authorities will now meet Sukkar Seniors in the southern region semi final to be played on April 11 at Naya Nazimabad Ground.
The other semifinalists Karachi Gold Bridge and Hyderabad Seniors will battle on April 12 at Niaz Stadium in Hyderabad.
Because of heavy rains the scheduled matches of the Northern Zone are badly affected in Punjab, Islamabad and KPK. The national finals to be played between the winners of Southern and Northern zones, which were scheduled to be played by end of April has been postponed.
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