About the Match
Finishing 2nd in the league stage with 10 points, Lahore Whites have earned their place in the final four of the National T20 series; they will face Karachi Blues, who came 4th with 8 points, in the 2nd Semi-Final match at Multan on 15th September. Lahore Whites defeated Peshawar in the last outing by 6 runs in a thrilling finish and they look motivated to make it through to the finals here. Karachi Blues, on the other hand, suffered defeat at the hands of Islamabad by 18 runs but had just enough points to surpass the opponent and qualify for this round. The two teams have good match-winners who can put up a tough fight on Thursday to try and keep their hopes alive.
Salman Butt and Umar Akmal posted a brilliant 92-run partnership for the 2nd wicket to take the total to a competitive 159 runs against Peshwar; while Butt scored 61, Akmal posted 57 and they combined well to challenge the opposition bowlers. However, it was a stupendous 3-26 by fast-bowler Zia-ul-Haq and a remarkable 2-20 by spinner Kashif Bhatti that demolished Peshawar and helped them win the match by a narrow margin of 6 runs.
The bowling unit consists of in-form speedsters like Zia-ul-Haq and Ehsan Adil while the spin tactics of Bhatti, Kamran Ghulam, Qaiser Ashraf and Sikandar Raza can help them stifle the opposition here. The batting line-up has experienced players like Salman Butt, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal and all-rounder Sikandar Raza while others down the line can contribute to keep the scoreboard ticking.
In the recent match against FATA, the batsmen put up a dismal show being unable to chase 118 runs; they need to be cautious here and try to put their best foot forward in order to win.
Chasing 152-run target against Islamabad, opener Shahzaib Hasan fought a long battle as he posted 66 off 50 but others failed to keep up and fell like a pack of cards; the lower order tried to contribute with the bat but they lost the match by 18 runs. Earlier, speedsters Bilawal Bhatti and spinners Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Asghar took 2 wickets each to restrict Islamabad to 151; they are vital assets for the team and can pose a stiff challenge on Thursday too.
In the match against Peshawar, the batsmen did well to build the scoreboard to 164 with opener Fazal Subhan scoring a well-made 53 and Ali Khan remaining unbeaten at 31. Shahzaib Hasan and Khurram Manzoor also contributed with the runs and can stabilize the middle order in the upcoming match too. The spinners led by Saeed Ajmal then went on to successfully defend the total and win by a close 3 runs; Mohammad Asghar and Fawad Alam can support well with spin while speedsters like Rumman Raees and Mohammad Sami can try to demolish the opposition here.
The players have the determination to do well and whether setting up a total or chasing, the Karachi Blues batsmen can prove to be a tough nut to crack.
While the Karachi Blues have a solid bowling attack, the Lahore team has a strong batting depth and the result could go either way; although Lahore Whites have good match-winners, we feel that Karachi Blues with a clever game plan can pack a punch to emerge victorious here on Thursday