By Richard Boxall

The group stages of the 40 Over and T20 leagues were completed over the weekend, and the draws for the knockout stages have been made.

Limassol Zalmi made a bold late challenge, winning two T20 games in one day to draw level on points with Markhor and Royal in their group, missing out on qualifying only by virtue of an inferior net run rate, which allowed Markhor to progress as runners-up to Al Fatah in group D.

First Zalmi chased down Markhor’s 177-6 to win by two wickets, thanks to Salman (75 from 29 balls) and Nveed (41) who added 97 together for the 7th wicket in just 7 overs. For Markhor Zeeshan scored 58 and Junaid took 3-24.

Then in a delayed conclusion to a match affected by rain earlier, they chased Nicosia Fighters’ 185-8 to win by 5 wickets in 14.1 overs – a terrific achievement but not quite enough to boost their run rate sufficiently to progress in the competition. Again Salman was the hero, hitting 96 not out from 33 balls, with 8 sixes and 10 fours, supported by Sadiq (33). In the Fighters innings Anowar scored 42 and Zalmi skipper Babar took 3-33.

In group B MSN Punjab Lions and Moufflons both won to overtake Sri Lanka Lions and claim the two places in the quarter finals.

The Lions had a comfortable 7-wicket win over Kipro Tigers of Limassol, who could only score 68 as Vansham took 4-11 and Tiwari 3-15, followed by 27 runs as the Lions won inside 9 overs.

Sri Lankans struggled against the Moufflons bowling attack, managing only 88-7 from their 20 overs, Wellage top-scoring with 27. Shoaib had a good game for Moufflons, following his 2-14 with 64 not out from 31 balls in a 7-wicket win achieved by the 12 th over.

The final group tables reveal some close competition. In group A Nicosia Tigers, Amdocs and Telugu 11 all finished on 6 points, with Telugu missing out on run rate. MSN Punjab Lions and Moufflons both gained 8 points in group B, ahead of Sri Lanka Lions on 6.

Group C was more clear cut, with unbeaten Lankan SC on 10 points ahead of Black Caps on 8. But group D was much tighter, with Al Fatah top on 8 points, followed by Markhor, Royal and Limassol Zalmi all on 6.

The draw for next week’s quarter finals, in which the group winners were kept apart, is:

Nicosia Tigers v Black Caps

Lankan SC v Amdocs

Al Fatah v Moufflons

MSN Punjab Lions v Markhor

In the 40 Over league the decisive match in group 1 between Sri Lanka Lions and Akrotiri turned out to be an anti-climactic game, as the Lions piled up 332-7. Kavindu (118) put on 110 for the second wicket with Sadun (66) and 104 for the sixth with Suresh (66 not out). Kamal then took 4-27 as Akrotiri were dismissed for 96. The result confirmed the Lions as runners-up in the group behind Markhor.

Moufflons confirmed their position as winners of group 2 with a 10-wicket win over Telugu 11. Roman (77) and Lakhwinder (57) carried their bats to score 150-0 inside 15 overs, after 3-25 by Waqas and Zeeshan’s 3-41 had helped bowl out Telugu for 147.

Runners-up in group 2 were Everest, and the line-up for Saturday’s semi-finals is:

Markhor v Everest

Moufflons v Sri Lanka Lions