KARACHI: Babar Masih won his first ever national title as he defeated Asjad Iqbal 6-5 in a thrilling final of the Jubilee Insurance 2nd Ranking Snooker Championship at the Movenpick Hotel yesterday.
Masih held his nerve right till the end despite playing the maiden final of his career, but it turned out to be a tough encounter and the only time he led the match was in the deciding frame.
Initially, it was all about Iqbal as he drew first blood. Babar levelled the match by winning a closely-contested second frame.
Iqbal not only restored his one-frame lead but doubled it and led 3-1. However, Masih kept himself in the match as he cut down the lead to make it 3-2 as he won the fifth frame by a single point.
Iqbal then made it 4-2 and Masih was required to up his game and he obliged by winning the next two frames. For the first time, both cueists were equally in control of the match at 4-4, but Iqbal again surged ahead as he went 5-4 up, pipping Masih by three points in the ninth frame.
He needed just one more frame to claim the championship in the best-of-11 frames battle. But Masih was not done yet as he first equalised 5-5 and then went on to win the decider and title with overall scores of 8-66, 58-49, 20-67, 39-71, 57-56 (57), 0-123 (72), 80-45, 64-57, 61-64, 79-49, 68-13.
Masih bagged the winner’s trophy and collected Rs70,000, while Iqbal received Rs40,000.
“I’m happy to finally win my first title in the national circuit,” Masih toldThe Express Tribune. “It was a tough match as Iqbal led the way throughout, but I had the unrelenting desire to win the title right till the end, and that propelled me to keep at it in the last few frames.”