Mar 292017

KARACHI: Imran Shahzad of Punjab moved into the final of the inaugural Jubilee Insurance National Masters Snooker Championship 2017 by outwitting Mohammad Yousuf of Sindh in the semi-finals at the Champions Snooker Academy in Johar Town, Lahore, on Wednesday.

According to the details made available by the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA), Imran’s opponent in today’s title clash will be Shah Khan of Khyber Pakthunkhwa who overcame Khurram Hussain Agha of Sindh in the other semi-final.

The best-of-11-frame final will commence at 10am on Thursday (today).

Both the semi-finals, decided by the identical scoreline of 5-3, produced surprising results.

Imran had to bring all his expertise into play to outwit the mercurial Yousuf, the only Pakistani to have won the World Masters title, with the scores of 54-42, 55-62, 76-1, 79-18, 50-62, 61-52, 30-76, 91-0.

Shah Khan turned the tables on his fancied rival Khurram, who remained Pakistan’s top ranked cueist for the better part of the past decade, beating him with the frame scores of 64-1, 26-105, 64-14, 20-70, 64-29, 66-35, 1-74, 66-20.

Imran drew the first blood but Yousuf took the tensely fought second frame.

A break of 52 saw the cueist from Punjab move in front and he doubled the lead by pocketing the fourth frame.

The former world champion fought back to make it 3-4 but it was not his day as a break of 56 allowed the local hero to press home the advantage in the eighth frame.

Shah Khan was equally tested by the more experienced Khurram and the match remained open until the end.

The former clinched the thriller by settling the matters in the eighth frame.

In the quarter-finals, held earlier in the day, Shah Khan whipped Mukhtar Khan of Sindh in straight frames with the scores of 66-46, 59-29, 85-74, 64-19.

Yousaf meted out similar treatment to Naseem Paracha with the scores being 64-2, 65-32, 65-51, 80-24.

Imran blew the whistle on Shahzad Butt, also from Punjab, beating him 4-2 with the scores of 38-51, 32-75, 79-29, 52-13, 82-26, 84-0. Khurram was awarded walkover against Mohammad Nadeem of Punjab.

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