Leopards, Falcons open with convincing wins
Three-wicket hauls from medium-pacer Shehzad Azam and left-arm spinner Raza Hasan helped Islamabad Leopards beat AJK Jaguars by 34 runs in their first match of the tournament. Chasing 150, AJK Jaguars were bowled out in 19 overs for 115, with Hasan Raza top-scoring with 28. At 91 for 4 in the 15th over, AJK Jaguars still had a chance, but they collapsed thereafter, losing their last six wickets for 24 runs.
Having been sent in to bat, Islamabad Leopards were 59 for 4 in the tenth over before Zohaib Ahmed and Imad Wasim got their innings back on track with a 45-run fifth-wicket partnership. Zohaib went on to finish on an unbeaten 33-ball 46 as he took Islamabad Leopards to a total of 149 for 5 in the company of Naeem Anjum, with whom he added an unbroken 45 for the sixth wicket.
Put in to bat, Eagles' top and middle-order batsmen all made starts, but none could move beyond 33, as Imran (4 for 25) and medium-pacer Taj Wali (2 for 20) struck at regular intervals to dismiss the team for 128.
The Panthers openers Rafatullah Mohman and Israrullah fell within four overs of the chase, but Iftikhar Ahmed (51 not out) and Mohammad Fayyaz (41) added 91 for the third wicket to guide the team home with six balls to spare.
A half-century from opener Fakhar Zaman, followed by a three-wicket haul from Ahmed Jamal, powered Abbottabad Falcons to a 52-run win in the first match of Group D, against Bahawalpur Stags in Karachi.
Opting to bat, Falcons were driven by an opening stand worth 67 between Yasir Hameed and Zaman. Hameed and Younis Khan fell in quick succession, but Zaman kept going and made 60 off 48 deliveries. Zaman was eventually stumped in the 17th over, and Stags followed it up with the quick wickets of Adnan Raees and Sajjad Ali. However, Kamran Ghulam, making his Twenty20 debut, counterattacked by thumping three fours and three sixes during a 13-ball 36 to lift Falcons to 174 for 5.
Stags never got going in their chase, as Jamal, Fazl-e-Rabbi and Shakeel Ahmed struck at regular intervals to wreck the team's top and middle order. Kamran Hussain top-scored with an unbeaten 46, but only two other batsmen managed double-digit scores, as Stags were restricted to 122 for 9 in 20 overs.
Mohammad Aftab and Athar Ali took three wickets apiece to rout Dera Murad Jamali Ibexes for 55 and secure a 122-run win for Lahore Lions. Chasing 178, Ibexes went from 6 for 0 to 7 for 3 and collapsed spectacularly after that to be dismissed in 14 overs. Only two of their batsmen - Najeebullah and Abid Ali - made double-figure scores. Aftab took 3 for 15 while Ali claimed 3 for 10.
Lions' total had been built on Kamran Akmal's 70 off 40 balls, which had 12 fours and a six. Imam-ul-Haw and Abid Ali scored 30s in the middle order to lead their team to 177 for 4. Shabbir Ali took 2 for 30 for Ibexes.