Islamabad, Lahore Lions stroll into semis
Islamabad Leopards strolled into the semi-finals of the Faysal Bank T-20 Cup with a seven-wicket win over Sialkot Stallions.
An average batting performance from Sialkot, who lost wickets in clusters, was one of the key factors in their loss. After being put in to bat, Sialkot kept losing wickets regularly and were only kept afloat by Shoaib Malik's unbeaten 52-ball 49, which helped them reach 116 for 6 in 20 overs.
Islamabad's chase had a stable start as openers Babar Azam and Afaq Raheem put on 48 in 8.3 overs before Azam was out for a run-a-ball 29. Although Raheem was out five overs later, Sialkot's target of 117 was not challenging enough for Islamabad, who eventually made their way into the semi-finals with an over to spare.
Lahore Lions booked a semi-final clash with Islamabad Leopards after a comfortable 11-run win against Multan Tigers in Rawalpindi. Lahore, after opting to bat, were in early trouble as they were reduced to 38 for 5 in the fifth over, with Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez and Umar Akmal, all failing. Zulfiqar Babar inflicted the early damage, taking three of those wickets. However, Saad Nasim scored an unbeaten 61 in 54 balls to revive the team. He added 82 for the sixth wicket in company of Asif Raza, who scored 35.
Multan made a solid start in response, putting up 32 for in 4.4 overs before losing their first wicket. But the loss of four wickets for 30 runs between the eighth and the 14th over slowed them down. The team needed 35 off the last three overs, but two tight overs made it 23 off the last over. One of them was bowled by Wahab Riaz, who ended up with figures of 4-0-17-1.