Haier Cup National Twenty20 2014 September 21, 2014

Mukhtar Ahmed century pummels Dolphins

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mukhtar Ahmed led a decimation of Karachi Dolphins. His 3 for 28 had limited the target to 151, which was gunned down with four overs to spare courtesy a brutal 48-ball 100. Sialkot Stallions, with their nine-wicket victory, fortify their place on top of Group A with four successive wins. Dolphins were led by Shahid Afridi and also had Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Sarfraz Ahmed and Anwar Ali to pose their threat. However, none of them could push past a start. Legspinners Adeel Malik and Ahmed were the main reasons for that as they snapped up five wickets between them. Shafiq was top-scorer with 34 and the No. 9 Mohammad Sami chipped in with 25 off 12 balls to lift a middling total. Stallions coasted the chase with Ahmed mauling 13 fours and four sixes to complete his maiden T20 century with a strike rate of 208.33.

Larkana Bulls crashed to their fourth consecutive defeat of the tournament, as a 72-run partnership between Azeem Ghumman and Faisal Athar guided Hyderabad Hawks to a seven-wicket win in Karachi. Set 152 for victory, Hawks began brightly as their openers Ghumman and Sharjeel Khan raced to 35 inside four overs. Sharjeel fell for 28, but Ghumman and Athar ensured that no momentum was lost by driving the team past the 100-run mark. Athar was on 47, having hit six fours and a six, when he was finally stumped by the keeper Zafar Ali off the legspinner Zahid Mahmood. However, with just 45 needed off 39 balls, Hawks eased to the target with an over to spare. Ghumman remained unbeaten on 50, while Shoaib Laghari thumped a four and two sixes during a 15-ball 23 before being trapped lbw.

Bulls, having been inserted, started rapidly but the loss of wickets at regular intervals hampered the team's progress. While several batsmen made starts, none could raise a fifty and Bulls were eventually restricted 151 for 7. Fast bowler Farhan Ayub and left-arm spinner Nauman Ali shared four wickets between them, while Rehan Nizamuddin, Nasir Awais and Lal Kumar chipped in with a scalp each.

The Multan Tigers top order gunned down the target of 163 to crush Rawalpindi Rams by eight wickets and six overs to spare. Zeeshan Ashraf made 21 off 12 balls, his opening partner Zain Abbas scored 50 off 29, and Tigers were 107 for 2 in ten overs. Their innings only went from strength to strength after that, with Shoaib Maqsood making 51 off 29 and wicketkeeper Gulraiz Sadaf smacking 35 off 14 to race to victory. Sohail Tanvir conceded 57 in four wicketless overs. Zahid Mansoor was the only Rams bowler to go for fewer than nine an over.

Mohammad Irfan had struck early blows for Tigers after they won the toss, dismissing the Rams openers in the space of three balls to reduce them to 15 for 2. Umar Amin scored an unbeaten 72 off 54 balls to steady the innings in the company of Hammad Azam, who made 41 off 30. They lifted their team to 162 for 5 - Irfan finished with 3 for 24 - but that total proved woefully inadequate.

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