West Asian Baseball Cup: Pakistan to play Iran in semi-final


Five times defending champion Pakistan qualified for the semi-final match after defeating Iraq Monday at Pakistan Sports Complex, Islamabad. Nepal, Sri Lanka and Iran had already qualified for the semi-finals.

Pakistan beat Iraq by sealing 25-0 points and registering a comfortable victory against them in the 13th edition of West Asian Baseball Cup.

Sri Lanka will be up against Nepal, whereas Pakistan will be up against Iran in the two semi-finals to be held today (February 28).

Pakistan is looking to secure its place in the 2020 Olympic qualifiers in Thailand.

Arsalan Jamshed and Faqir Hussain scored four runs each, while Captain Sumair Zawar, along with Amin Afridi, Riaz Khan and Wasim Ali, scored three apiece. Umair Bhatti and Muhammad Majeed, meanwhile, contributed two runs each, while Fazal Khan chipped in with one run.

Centre fielder Muhammad Rafi was in a jubilant mood after the match, saying the team is confident of defending their crown. “This match was quite easy. We have a decent team and it’s all about how we coordinate among ourselves. We’ve been the top side till now and we are confident that we will be able to defend this crown,” he added.

India’s participation in the event was confirmed, however, they could not arrive owing to visa issues. The final will be played on March 1, 2017.

Five teams—including Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Iran, and Iraq—are participating in the mega-regional event. The event was inaugurated by Federal Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada with a colourful ceremony last Saturday.

Pakistan are ranked 24th in the world and fifth in Asia, while they have been the western division’s champions for the past three editions.