Winning starts for Multan, Lahore and Sialkot
Imranullah Aslam's whirlwind 57 off 27 deliveries took Multan Tigers to a comfortable six-wicket victory against Peshawar Panthers in Lahore.
Aslam smashed four sixes and six fours, and by the time he got out, Multan needed 44 off 67 with eight wickets in hand. Left-arm spinner Zohaib Khan's 2 for 25 was in vain as Multan reached the target of 125 with 19 balls to spare.
Aslam had earlier helped restrict Peshawar to 124, taking 2 for 13 with his legspinners, including the wicket of former Pakistan captain Younis Khan. Peshawar had got off to a good start, reaching 75 for 1 in the eleventh over. However, they lost too many wickets after that, four of them to run-outs.
Lahore Lions held their nerve to prevail over Abbottabad Falcons by three runs in Lahore, after Abdul Razzaq had smashed a quick half-century to boost them to 165.
Razzaq came in when Lahore were in trouble at 37 for 3, having lost the big wickets of captain Mohammad Yousuf and Umar Akmal. He first steadied the innings with Ahmed Shehzad, and then dominated an 80-run partnership with Raza Ali Dar that came in 44 balls. Razzaq hammered four sixes and five fours in his 60 off 30 deliveries. Left-arm fast bowler Junaid Khan - who has played for Pakistan A - took 2 for 11.
Lahore's bowlers struck regularly at the start of the chase to reduce Abbottabad to 48 for 4 in the eighth over. Ahmed Said and Wajid Ali brought their team back into the game with an 82-run stand in 55 deliveries. With 36 needed off 22, fast bowler Aizaz Cheema dismissed Ali for 39, to finish with 3 for 27. Said remained unbeaten on 54 off 43, as Abbottabad finished on 162 for 7.
A disciplined bowling performance from Sialkot Stallions gave them an easy seven-wicket win over Karachi Zebras in Lahore. Karachi were restricted to a mere 99, which Sialkot knocked off without fuss, courtesy Imran Nazir's unbeaten 64.
It was a struggle for the Karachi batsmen as five of the top six did not reach double figures. Only opener Ali Asad resisted with 33. Three run-outs only added to Karachi's woes. Legspinner Adeel Malik, Pakistan allrounder Shoaib Malik's younger brother, finished with 2 for 15.
Despite the loss of two early wickets, Nazir almost single-handedly led the chase, hitting eight fours and two sixes on his way to 64 off 42 deliveries, as Sialkot won with more than seven overs to spare.