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Outsiders Agha, Miraan join Sajjad and Asjad in semis

Outsiders Agha, Miraan join Sajjad and Asjad in semis

KARACHI: Experienced hand Khurram Hussain Agha, outsider Nadir Miraan along with two seasoned campaigners, Mohammad Sajjad and Asjad Iqbal, completed the semi-final quartet in the 42nd National Snooker Championship at the Karachi Gymkhana on Sunday.

Former Pakistan No 1 Agha, a qualifier from Sindh, proved his acumen while lowering the colours of seventh seed Shahram Changezi in the epic quarter-final that went to full distance.

Agha, who lost the preceding Sindh Cup final to Agha Bilawal, was 3-4 down when he rejuvenated his act to clinch the last two frames and earned a place in the semi-final of the country’s premier snooker championship after a long layoff.




He won the battle 86-18, 54-66, 59-45, 19-59, 46-57, 62-50, 7-83, 58-38, 62-45.

There was only one notable break of 77 chalked up by Shahram in the seventh frame.

Punjab’s Miraan continued his giant killing run when he humbled 2011 national champion Shahid Aftab 5-3 to reach maiden semi-final of his career.

Miraan was 2-3 down when he stormed back in the game to creating quite a stir. He won the duel 72-56, 22-60, 24-88, 72-5, 41-59, 70-63, 67-42, 70-9.

Aftab piled up a break of 59 in the second frame.

International Asjad Iqbal, who has won the NBP Cup thrice, proved his mettle while ending the successful run of wildcard and former national junior champion Mohammad Ahsan Javaid imposing to 5-3 victory.

He delighted the spectators chalking up four elegant breaks of 50, 68, 78, 81 while registering emphatic 36-76, 64-38, 26-69, 80-0, 99-5, 98-0, 29-71, 62-55 victoy over his opponent.

Former world championship losing finalist and third seed Sajjad is the only cueist among the top four who has justified his seeding when he coasted to 5-2 victory over Sohail Shehzad.

He mustered two solid breaks of 53 and 55 in the first and second frames on way to winning 100-7, 78-8, 8-69, 72-42, 56-22, 29-76, 79-16 over his opponent.

The best of 11 frames semi-finals will be played on Monday in two separate sessions while curtain falls on the event the following day.

Results:

Quarter-finals:

Asjad Iqbal (Punjab) bt Mohammad Ahsan Javaid (Punjab) 5-3 (36-76, 64-38, 26-69, 80-0, 99-5, 98-0, 29-71, 62-55); Naddir Miraan (Punjab) bt Shahid Aftab (Punjab) 5-3 (72-56, 22-60, 24-88, 72-5, 41-59, 70-63, 67-42, 70-9); Mohammad Sajjad (Punjab) bt Sohail Shehzad (Sindh) 5-2 (100-7, 78-8, 8-69, 72-42, 56-22, 29-76, 79-16); Khurram Agha (Sindh) bt Shahram Changezi (Islamabad) 5-4 (86-18, 54-66, 59-45, 19-59, 46-57, 62-50, 7-83, 58-38, 62-45).

Monday’s fixtures:

Semi-finals: (best of 11 frames)

At 10am: Asjad Iqbal v Nadir Miraan

At 1pm: Mohammad Sajjad v Khurram Agha.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2017

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