LAHORE   -  Muzaffarabad Tigers thumped Rawalakot Hawks by 7 runs in a nail-biting thriller where both teams were fighting to book the first ticket for the final of KPL 2021. Rawalakot Hawks now will wait for another opportunity on August 17 where they will face the winners of the eliminator 1.

Shahid Afridi, skipper of Rawalakot Hawks, won the toss and asked the rival captain to bat first on the Independence Day of Pakistan. A run-out of Mohammad Hafeez (0) in the very first over of the innings was an early blow for the Tigers, who saw Zeeshan Ashraf 5(4) also coming back towards the pavilion in the very next over. They lost Sohaib Maqsood as well in the 4th over for who threw his wicket away for 17 off 14, the team being 23/3 in 4 overs. 

Sohail Akhtar and Sohail Tanvir also disappointed Tigers’ fans as team went into further trouble when they lost half of their side for just 51. Anwar Ali started punishing Hawks bowlers, produced 25 and 24 runs stands alongside Inzamam ul Haq and Mohammad Wasim, further accelerated after Wasim’s dismissal when team was 100/7 in 15.4 overs before he lost his wicket on the third delivery of the 19th over, having scored 57 off 35 with 5 fours and 3 sixes. A 20* off 11 balls helped Tigers post 164 on the board in their 20 overs losing 8 wickets. Mohammad Imran and Danish Aziz took two wickets each. 

When Hawks started their chase, Ahmed Shehzad’s dismissal in the second over stopped the expected flow of runs and Bismillah Khan and Sahibzada Farhan also lost their wickets in a quick succession during the powerplay. When Zeeshan Ashraf stumped Kashif Ali, Hawks were 49/4 with Shahid Afridi coming in at No 6 to rescue his side with some boundaries. A googly of Usama Mir forced him to leave the stage, having scored just 11 off 8 with two fours. After Afridi got out, Hussain Talat showed how skilful he is as the all-rounder punished everyone and scored a brilliant 52 off 35 before he got run out in the 16th over. 

Mohammad Imran also lost his precious wicket for just 8 but it was Danish Aziz who kept the game interesting by the end before Sohail Tanvir clean bowled him in the second last over, adding to the worries of Hawks with another wicket of Waqas Maqsood on the very next delivery. Hawks required 9 runs in the last over that was too much to ask from two tale enders who could not win it for Rawalakot Hawks and allowed Muzaffarabad Tigers to celebrate on a brilliant victory in the qualifier where they won against Hawks by 7 wickets and qualified for the final of KPL 2021 that is going to be played on 17th of August in Muzaffarabad.

BRIEF SCORES

MUZAFFARABAD TIGERS: 164/8, 20 ov (Anwar Ali 57, Inzamam ul Haq 30, Usama Mir 20*; Imran Randhawa 2/9, Danish Aziz 2/36) beat RAWALAKOT HAWKS: 157, 19.4 ov (Hussain Talat 52, Danish Aziz 37; Sohail Tanvir 4/29).