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June 26, 2011
A hat-trick from Zulfiqar Babar helped Multan Tigers upset Karachi Dolphins, beating them by 14 runs in a gripping match at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad. Babar's three strikes in the 19th over put the game beyond Karachi, but by that stage Multan had already made a comeback after Karachi seemed to be easing towards a target of 162.
Khalid Latif and Rameez Raja (2) had got Karachi's chase off to a flier, and at 96 for 1 in the 12th over, they were in a comfortable position. Left-arm spinner Ahmed Raza bowled Raja for 40, and that slowed the scoring-rate significantly. Karachi added just 13 runs in the next 20 balls before Babar removed Latif for 51. A couple of sixes from Fawad Alam brought it down to 25 to win off 11, but Babar shut out Karachi with his hat-trick. He finished with figures of 4 for 18 in the match.
Babar, though, was not the only star for Multan; their competitive score was set up by opener Zain Abbas' 86 off 65 balls. He helped Multan get off to a brisk start, putting together partnerships with Yasir Arafat (2) and then Gulraiz Sadaf. Karachi fought back by taking wickets at regular intervals, but Abbas stayed till the 18th over to help Multan reach 161 for 6.
What looked like an easy chase for Rawalpindi Rams against Faisalabad Wolves in the second match of the day was complicated by a collapse triggered by the offspin of Mohammad Hafeez. Unlike Karachi in the earlier game, though, Rawalpindi had to chase only 141, and they were able to recover and won by four wickets with 3.2 overs to spare. The match would have ended earlier had Rawalpindi openers Naved Malik and Awais Zia kept going: the two put together 91 runs in nine overs, with Malik smashing 55 off 30 balls and Zia getting 37 off 27.
Hafeez got the breakthrough, dismissing Malik, Zia followed and a run-out and two more Hafeez strikes later, what looked like an easy win was now not such a surety. Rawalpindi were 111 for 5 at that stage, but the rate at which the openers had got their runs meant there was time for the rest of the batsmen to settle in. Wicketkeeper Jamal Anwar didn't seem to want the extra time, though, and smashed 19 runs off just 6 balls to seal the victory.
Faisalabad's innings never quite going. They lost wickets early, before captain Misbah-ul-Haq steadied things with his 36. But three more wickets fell after the 15th over and a total of 140 did not pose enough of a challenge for Rawalpindi.
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