Lahore and Sialkot reach semi-finals
Islamabad Leopards slumped to their third successive defeat, as Sialkot Stallions successfully chased 171 at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad. The win proved sufficient to ensure Sialkot's passage to the semi-finals. Their success came after they overcame a top-order slump - they lost their top three batsmen for scores under 10 - through a series of middle-order cameos. Shakeel Ansar was their hero, contributing 55 off 34 balls, and he was supported by Shahid Yousuf who contributed 41. The pair added 61 in 7.4 overs before Shoaib Malik and Ali Khan hauled in the target in a blaze of sixes.
The chase brought a disappointing end to Islamabad's campaign, as their good work with the new ball and belligerence with the bat were undone. Nauman Masood set up the base with 47 off 24 balls, and Islamabad were helped along by Fakhar Hussain who struck three sixes in his 23, and Naeem Anjum who struck 30 off 23 balls. Islamabad would have ended up with a bigger score if not for Abdur Rehman's nagging spell of 3 for 28, which made the difference in the end analysis.
Lahore Lions surged to their third win in three games later in the evening, shutting the door on Hyderabad Hawks who needed to win well to pip Sialkot for a semi-final spot. Ahmed Shehzad blazed away to 78 off 49 balls after Lahore chose to bat, but the rest of the line-up failed to build on his efforts. No other batsman managed to reach 20 as spinners Nasir Awais and Zahid Mahmood stalled the progress with combined figures of 6 for 54 in eight overs. Lahore posted 160 at the end of their 20 overs, a score Hyderabad had to overhaul in 17.3 overs to progress.
Sharjeel Khan's sluggish start and eventual dismissal for 3 off 12 balls meant Hyderabad were in early strife, but Aqeel Anjum launched a spirited sortie to redress the balance. His 40 off 16 balls gave Hyderabad a realistic chance of winning the run-rate battle, but Azeem Ghumman and Faisal Athar got stuck in the middle overs. Aizaz Cheema and Adnan Rasool piled on the pressure as the asking-rate mounted, and Hyderabad faltered to an eight-run loss.
The semi-finals on June 30 will feature Lahore Lions against Rawalpindi Rams, before Karachi Dolphins face off with Sialkot Stallions.