Imran Khan hat-trick, Israrullah 82 leads Peshawar to semis
A hat-trick from the left-arm seamer Imran Khan, followed by a 52-ball 82 from Israrullah powered Peshawar Region into the semi-finals, after the team beat Karachi Region Blues by seven wickets at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. Despite the defeat, Karachi Blues also made it to the next round, starting tomorrow.
Batting first, Karachi Blues were never allowed to thrive in their innings, as the opener Khurram Manzoor was dismissed in the third over. Khalid Latif, the tournament's second leading scorer, hit 40 off 34 balls to lay a platform, but none of the other batsmen could capitalise, as Imran clipped three important wickets - Fawad Alam (37 off 28), Sarfaraz Ahmed (23 off 18) and Anwar Ali (0) - to complete his hat-trick. Those late blows restricted Karachi Blues to 156 for 7.
Rafatullah Mohmand departed early in the chase, but Israrullah and Mohammad Rizwan (40 off 35) made no mistakes. Israrullah launched 13 fours during his fifty, as Peshawar overhauled the target in 18 overs. Anwar Ali bagged one wicket while Rumman Raees, the leading wicket-taker of the tournament, could also only manage 1 for 35. With their fourth win of the tournament, Peshawar ended on top of Group B.
A five-for from the fast bowler Mohammad Naeem set up a six-wicket win for Abbottabad Region against Islamabad Region at the Diamond Club Ground. The win, though, was in vain, as the Younis Khan-led side failed to qualify for the semi-finals after finishing third in the table, with three victories and two losses.
Islamabad, having been inserted, began promisingly, as the opener Shan Masood scored 36 off 21 balls. However, Naeem ripped the batting order, picking up 5 for 31 from his four overs. Shahid Yousuf resisted with 34, but Islamabad were eventually bundled out for 149 in 19 overs.
Abbottabad did not have much trouble in their chase, as Fakhar Zaman, who scored a century against Peshawar on Saturday, hammered 78 off 39 balls with 14 fours and a six. Abbottabad lost four wickets in the chase, but Younis made 31 off 18 balls, taking the side home with 29 balls to spare.
A three-wicket haul from Mohammad Irfan set up a comprehensive six-wicket win for Lahore Region Whites against Faisalabad Region at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. The result, however, did not help either team; Lahore Whites could only finish fourth in the table, while Faisalabad were relegated after ending rock bottom.
Faisalabad, opting to bat, were steered by an unbeaten 55-ball 87 from their opener Raheel Ameer. However, Ameer received little by way of support from his team-mates, as no other batsman could muster more than 17. Irfan picked up 3 for 9 to run through Faisalabad's lower middle order, while Sajid Watto collected 2 for 26, restricting the team to 140 for 7.
Lahore Whites lost Ahmed Shehzad early in the chase, but crucial thirties from their captain Azhar Ali (35), Umar Siddiq (34) and Saad Nasim (37 not out) took the team home in 18.4 overs. Ehsan Adil was Faisalabad's best bowler, taking 2 for 16 from three overs.
Sialkot Region overpowered Bahawalpur Region by 10 wickets at the Diamond Club Ground in Islamabad to go straight into the semi-final.
In what turned out to be a one-sided contest, Bahawalpur, batting first, could only muster 96 for 7 from their 20 overs. Only Bahawalpur's captain Kamran Hussain produced a substantial score, making 43 off 33 balls, while six of the batsmen failed to break into double digits. Hasan Ali was the main destroyer, picking up four wickets at the cost of 11 runs, while Usama Mir bowled a tight four overs to bag two wickets, giving away just seven runs.
Sialkot responded to the small chase in style, as both the openers Mukhtar Ahmed (55 off 25) and Nauman Anwar (45 off 23) guided the team home inside eight overs. Sialkot will now take on Peshawar Region in Monday's second semi-final.
Hyderabad Region held their nerve to beat Rawalpindi Region by two wickets off the penultimate ball in an inconsequential match. Hyderabad needed five off the last two deliveries from Hammad Azam when Nauman Ali hit the third ball he faced for six to seal the win.
Hyderabad began their chase of 159 strongly with a 37-run opening stand between Azeem Ghumman (41 off 36) and Sharjeel Khan. However, they lost momentum thereafter and slipped to 85 for 4 during the 13th over. Faisal Athar (31 off 24) and Shoaib Laghari (34 off 19) revived the chase with a fifty partnership.
Yasir Arafat struck twice in the 18th over on way to 3 for 20 and Sohail Tanvir removed Laghari in the 19th but Hyderabad had enough left in the tank to reach their destination.
Rawalpindi had posted 158 for 8 after choosing to bat. Umar Amin led with 52 off 40 and rebuilt the innings from 98 for 5 along with Zahid Mansoor, who contributed 31 off 20. Nauman Ali starred with the ball too, taking 3 for 31.