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September 30, 2011
Rawalpindi Rams confirmed their place in the semi-finals with their third straight win, a seven-run victory over Faisalabad Wolves. Rawalpindi were in trouble early on after choosing to bat as their top order capsized, leaving the team at 46 for 4. Umar Amin, the 21-year-old batsman who played for Pakistan last year, spearheaded the revival with his third Twenty20 half-century. He struck seven fours in his 37-ball 53 and was involved in a 97-run stand with Jamal Anwar to help Rawalpindi post a score in excess of 150.
Faisalabad's top order performed even worse than Rawalpindi's, losing a wicket in each of the first three overs, including ducks for both openers. Faisalabad then went three overs without losing a wicket, but the respite was brief as Rawalpindi struck twice more to leave the chase in disarray at 39 for 5. Misbah-ul-Haq and Imran Khalid made 40s but Faisalabad still looked well out of it when Misbah fell for 43 in the 16th over. There were still some anxious moments for Rawalpindi, though, as Mohammad Talha slammed three fours and a six to take Faisalabad to within eight runs of victory.
Afghan Cheetas slipped to their third straight defeat of the tournament, losing by four wickets to Multan Tigers at the National Stadium in Karachi. Left-arm spinner Naved Yasin bagged four wickets, undermining a sound start by the Cheetas openers Najib Taraki and Fazal Niyazai who added 54. Yasin dismissed Taraki, and then struck twice in the same over to stifle the innings. Captain Mohammad Nabi made 34 in the middle order to lead a recovery from 82 for 5 but seamer Shabbir Ahmed picked up three wickets to keep the Cheetas to 131.
Multan lost two early wickets but opener Zain Abbas began positively and reached a half-century in the company of the middle order. The Cheetas, however, struck at regular intervals and reduced Multan to 90 for 6 at one stage, including the wicket of Abbas, but Kamran Hussain and Shabbir - who starred in an all-round effort - steered their team home. The pair added an unbeaten 45; Kamran made 33 in 28 while Shabbir blasted two fours and a six in his 22 to help seal victory with four balls to spare. This was Multan's first win of the competition.
The Peshawar Panthers batsmen performed impressively to set up a victory against Karachi Dolphins at theNational Stadium. The result ensured Peshawar's passage to the semi-finals, where they will meet Rawalpindi Rams.
After choosing to bat, Peshawar were boosted by a second-wicket partnership of 70 in 6.2 overs between Rafatullah Mohmand and Mohammad Fayyaz, who made 42 off 33 balls and 39 off 21 balls. Zohaib Khan gave the innings a strong finish by scoring 43 off 23 balls as Peshawar ended on 177 for 7 in 20 overs. Left-arm spinner Faraz Ahmed was the best of Karachi's bowlers, taking 2 for 27 in four overs.
Karachi reached 31 for 0 during the fourth over of the chase but then slipped, losing two wickets for no addition to the score. They never recovered and lost wickets at regular intervals and were 79 for 7 at one stage. Their top-scorer was wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed, who made 37 off 20 balls, while five other batsmen got into double figures but didn't make it to 20. Karachi were restricted to 148 for 9 in 20 overs. Nauman Habib's 3 for 27 were Peshawar's best bowling figures.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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