Mohammad Hafeez’s all-round display helped Faisalabad Wolves crush Quetta Bears by 101 runs at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. Quetta captain Taimur Ali must have been ruing his decision to field first as openers Hafeez and Qaiser Iqbal provided Faisalabad a rousing start. Confident strokeplay saw the opening stand race to 155. Hafeez was the first to fall, having stroked 74 off 72 balls, including ten boundaries. Qaiser departed soon after having managed a 76-ball 80, comprising 12 fours and a six, but it was Naved Latif’s late cameo that lifted Faisalabad to 218.
During the reply, Shoaib Khan jnr’s 55 looked threatening for Faisalabad but once Ali Raza sent him back, Quetta collapsed like a house of cards. Mohammad Hafeez cleaned up the middle order to finish with impressive figures of 4-1-5-3. Raza, too, picked up three, as Quetta finished on a disappointing 117 for 8.
Jahangir Mirza, the offspinner, led a combined bowling effort – each of the Lahore Lions bowlers took at least a wicket each – to limit Rawalpindi Rams to 135 for 9, and set the stage for a resounding eight-wicket win at the Gaddafi Stadium. Awais Zia resisted with 43, but received little support from the other end.
Mirza (2 for 16) was supported well by Abdul Razzaq (2 for 28) and the Lahore batting was equally dominant. Openers Ahmed Shehzad (28) and Nasir Jamshed (32) led the reply with a brisk 64-run stand before Salman Butt (30*) and Umar Akmal (39* off just 20 balls) ended the proceedings with more than five overs to spare.
Imran Nazir struck a whirlwind, unbeaten 68 to help Sialkot Stallions beat Karachi Zebras comprehensively by eight wickets and more than seven overs to spare at the Gaddafi Stadium. Nazir struck six fours and five sixes, and was well supported by Tahir Mughal (42) in a stand of 96 for the second wicket, as Sialkot breezed through in pursuit of 134.
Their job had been made easier by a collective bowling display, as Sialkot captain Shoaib Malik (3 for 25) combined with medium-pacer Kashif Daud (2 for 32) and left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman (2 for 15) to bowl out Karachi for a chaseable score. Karachi captain Faisal Iqbal, Fahad Iqbal and wicketkeeper Javed Mansoor got starts but failed to consolidate.
Fayyaz Ahmed’s quickfire half-century stole the thunder from yet a sparkling knock from Younis Khan as Islamabad Leopards made easy work of Peshawar Panthers at Gaddafi Stadium. Opting to bat, captain Younis gave Peshawar the much-needed momentum after they had lost their openers cheaply. His 70 off 46 balls was a masterful innings comprising six fours and two sixes. Sajjad Ahmed gave him able support with 38 off 34 balls as Peshawar finished on 152 for 4.
Afaq Raheem gave Islamabad a breezy start during the reply, scoring 41 off the 47 runs by the fifth over. But even as Islamabad lost both their openers, it was Fayyaz who took them to victory in the 18th over with his 46-ball 58, studded with nine fours and a six.
Lahore Eagles held their nerve to seal a tight seven-wicket win over Abbottabad Rhinos at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. They were helped by crucial contributions from each of their top three as they chased down 137 with two balls to spare. Opener Abid Ali made a relatively patient 42, and was supported well by both Ahmed Dar (34) and Azhar Ali (40), notching up half-century partnerships with each of them. Yasir Shah took two wickets, but Khaqan Arsal made an unbeaten 16 to see his team through.
Abbottabad limped to their score, squandering a comfortable position at 50 for 1. Wicketkeeper Mir Azam (28) and captain Adnan Raees (35) added 48 for the second wicket, but proceeded very slowly. Their team slipped once they departed, Azhar Ali – who starred in an allround display – taking 2 for 21, and posted an inadequate total.
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Group C: Islamabad Leopards v Peshawar Panthers at Lahore – May 25, 2009