RAWALPINDI - Karachi Zebras thrashed Karachi Lions by 81 runs in the Faysal Bank Cup One-day Cup second semi-final here at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Thursday.

Put into bat first, Zebras were all out for 239 runs in 49.3 overs. Zebras’ players batted sensibly and scored 106 runs in the first 20 overs for the loss of only one wicket but poor batting display by middle order batsmen led them to a mini collapse as in the next 20 overs as they just managed to score 79 runs losing five of their wickets. At one stage, it was looking highly unlikely that Zebras could even post 200 runs on the board, as only 186 runs were scored and seven wickets had fallen with only eight overs left to play. But late order batsmen especially Javed Mansoor and Fakhar Zaman ensured Zebras post a good total. Akbar-ur-Rehman made 63 in 84 balls studied with five boundaries while Khurrum Manzoor scored 60 hitting eight fours, Javed Mansoor 36 and Fakhar Zaman 22. Atif Maqbool, Sohail Khan and Babar Rehman took two wickets each for Lions.

Karachi Dolphins, who entered the match as strong favourites to win this particular tie having the services of star players, failed to live up to their reputation and were bundled out for 158 in 43.1 overs. Shahzaib Hasan failed to capitalise on a solid start and was out after scoring 42 runs consuming 63 balls hitting three fours. Sarfraz Ahmed made 36 with two fours. Misbah Khan and Akbar-ur-Rehman ripped through Dolphins batting as both clinched three wickets each. With this comprehensive victory, Zebras will now meet Lahore Lions in the final to be played tomorrow (Saturday) at 2:30pm.

Once again cricket crazy Rawalpindi crowd was gathered outside the stadium but for the second day in running, they were denied entry in the venue from main gates and were allowed entry from the same Imran Khan stand. Had local admin allowed locals to make entry through main gates, the stadium could have filled pack to capacity. Police were also misbehaving with the spectators at Imran Khan stand and even harsh and abusive language was hurled at the youngsters.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) must issue instructions to local admin and staff posted at the main gates to let the locals enter the ground through different gates to ensure maximum crowds’ presence in the stadium for the final match.