Five-star Arshad Iqbal steers Shaheens to final

By our correspondent
COLOMBO: Arshad Iqbal’s five-wicket haul and half-centuries by Omair Bin Yousuf and Mohammad Haris led Pakistan Shaheens t0 a 60-run win over Sri Lanka A in the first semi-final of the ACC Men’s Emerging Teams Asia Cup at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo on Friday.
Defending champions Shaheens will now play against the winners of the second semi-final which is taking place between Bangladesh A and India A today at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. The final will take place on Sunday at the R Premadasa Stadium, where the first ball will be bowled at 1400 local time.
Chasing 323 to win, Sri Lanka A lost three wickets in quick succession with 33 runs on the board. Opening batter Avishka Fernando and Sahan Arachchige got together and added 128 runs for the fourth wicket. After the departure of Fernando (97, 85b, 12x4s, 2x6s), Sri Lanka A lost wickets at regular intervals which included prized scalp of Arachchige (97, 109b, 12x4s, 1×6) and were bundled out for 262 in 45.4 overs.
Arshad ended up with match figures of 7.4-0-37-5 – his maiden List A five-wicket haul. Mubasir Khan and Sufiyan Muqeem grabbed two wickets each.
Earlier after opting to bat first, Shaheens lost opening batter Sahibzada Farhan (12, 22b, 1×4) in the sixth over to Lahiru Samarakoon. Saim Ayub was joined by Omair Bin Yousuf and the pair added 37 runs for the second wicket before Saim was caught behind for 22 off 41 balls, which included three fours as Shaheens’ scorecard read 61 for two in 13 overs.
Omair – the top run-getter for his side in today’s match – partnered with Tayyab Tahir (26, 26b, 4x4s) and stitched a 61-run partnership for the third wicket. After Tayyab and Qasim’s departure with the score at 145 for four in 26 overs, captain Mohammad Haris and Omair knitted a 48-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Omair scored 88 off 79 balls, smashing 10 fours and a six. Haris and Mubasir (42, 45b, 2x4s, 2x6s) added another 73 valuable runs for the sixth wicket.
Haris made a quick-fire 43-ball 52, hitting five boundaries. Shaheens were dismissed for 322 on the final ball of the innings.
For Sri Lanka A, Chamika Karunaratne, Lahiru Samarakoon and Pramod Madushan bagged two wickets each.
Scores in brief:
Pakistan Shaheens beat Sri Lanka A by 60 runs
Pakistan Shaheens 322 all out, 50 overs (Omair Bin Yousuf 88, Mohammad Haris 52, Mubasir Khan 42; Lahiru Samarakoon 2-42, Chamika Karunaratne 2-55, Pramod Madushan 2-56)
Sri Lanka A 262 all out, 45.4 overs (Avishka Fernando 97, Sahan Arachchige 97; Arshad Iqbal 5-37, Sufyan Muqeem 2-44, Mubasir Khan 2-45)
Player of the match – Arshad Iqbal (Pakistan Shaheens

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