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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 15 October 2018

Abu Dhabi T20: Title now the goal for Sohail Akhtar and Lahore Qalanders after securing final spot

A half-century from Mohammad Faizan and three wickets from Farzan Raja ensure that Lahore will win Group A with two wins

Having won both their Group A games to book their spot in the inaugural Abu Dhabi T20 Trophy final, the Lahore Qalandars captain Sohail Akhtar now has his goal firmly on winning the title on Saturday.

Sohail followed up his maiden T20 century against the Yorkshire Vikings on Thursday with a well-struck 37 in his team’s victory over Hobart Hurricanes in their second game at the Zayed Cricket stadium on Friday which sealed top spot in Group A for them.

“I’m very happy as the boys worked very hard in all departments and to win the two games on the trot was a brilliant effort,” he said as his side now prepare to meet the winner of Group B in Saturday's final at 8pm to decide who will be the tournament victor.

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“We came here with a young team and they have already show their potential in reaching the final. Hopefully we can with that too as I believe the momentum is with us.”

Mohammad Faizan struck 58 off 44 balls and featured in a 74-run stand for the second wicket with opener Sohail.

Faizan came in at the fall of the first Lahore wicket at 24 in the fourth over and hit four fours and three sixes.

Charles Wakin, the Hobart captain who top scored for his side with 43, said he felt his side had given away too many runs when they had fielded and that had cost them dear.

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“We did back ourselves to chase it but lost too many in the middle,” he added. “I think we set a decent chase but we lost wickets in the 12th over mark when we needed to accelerate it.”

Farzan Raja was the pick of the Lahore bowlers when returning with 4-24 from his four overs.

“It was an amazing game and want to congratulate Hobart Hurricanes as they played very good cricket,” said the wily leg spinner.

“I am very happy with my performance. The ball was turning a bit. Aaqib Javed (the Qalandars coach and director of cricket) said I just had to contain the batsmen and not try to take wickets.

“In T20 cricket, not to concede too many runs is very important. That’s what I tried to do and then the wickets followed.”

Lahore’s victory means Saturday’s first game between Hobart and Yorkshire, which takes place at 11am, will simply be to decide who finishes runner-up in Group A.