Lahore close in on semi-finals
Lahore Lions put themselves in prime position for a semi-final spot after beating Islamabad Leopards comfortably at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad, despite suffering a batting collapse in their innings. The 43-run margin of victory means Lahore's net run-rate is +2.2, which will make them hard to catch at the top of Group A. Lahore had lost five wickets for five runs in their innings, but Islamabad suffered two collapses, first losing four wickets for nine runs and then four for 11.
The collapses meant Islamabad's chase never got going, and they were bowled out for 105 in 18.5 overs, with Shan Masood's 32 the only significant contribution. Seamers Emmad Ali and Imran Ali did the early damage for Lahore, taking two and three wickets each, and then spinners Saad Nasim and Adnan Rasool finished the job. Lahore lost early wickets after electing to bat, but a 37-ball 44 from Kamran Akmal meant they kept scoring at a brisk rate. At 99 for 3 in the 13th over, they looked set for a big score, but a collapse meant they needed No. 9 Imran Ali's 27 off 19 balls to get to 148.
In the first game, aggressive innings by Shahid Yousuf, Mansoor Amjad and Shoaib Malik got Sialkot Stallions to an imposing total of 183 that proved too much for Hyderabad Hawks. Hyderabad made a fist of the chase, thanks mainly to Sharjeel Khan's swashbuckling 74 off 41 balls, and at 124 for 3 in the 13th over were very much in the game. But a flurry of wickets meant they fell 33 runs short. Sialkot were put in to bat and made a quick start thanks to opener Amjad's 39 off 22 balls. Hyderabad got back in the game with a couple of quick wickets, and when Malik and Shahid Yousuf got together Sialkot were 90 for 3.
Malik did the early scoring in the partnership and got 39 off 28 balls. Shahid Yousuf dominated the latter half of the stand and ended up with 48 off 35. The chase was always going to be a difficult one for Hyderabad, but the way Sharjeel and captain Azeem Ghumman started it looked like they would race towards the target. Fast bowler Sarmad Anwar pulled things back for Sialkot with wickets off the first two balls of the eighth over. Sharjeel kept going, though, and it was only when Malik bowled him in the 13th over that Sialkot managed to seize control of the game. A collapse followed: Abdur Rehman, the left-arm spinner, struck twice in the next over, and the lower order collapsed. Hyderabad ended up getting bowled out in 18.2 overs.