Rameez, Rizwan overcome spirited Panthers
Baluchistan Bears 187 (Rameez 87, Imran 3-25) beat Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Panthers 183 (Zohaib 41, Rizwan 5-31) by four runs
A low-scoring encounter see-sawed for close to 95 overs but it was Baluchistan Bears who prevailed by four runs against Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Panthers at the National Stadium. Rameez Alam played a captain's knock of 86 to take Bears to 187 before a five-wicket burst by Rizwan Haider left the Panthers reeling. An eighth-wicket stand of 52 took Panthers close to the target but they eventually fell short by a narrow margin.
Imran Khan made early inroads for Panthers, reducing Bears to 67 for 5. Rameez and Rizwan joined hands for a stand of 57 for the seventh wicket before Yasir Shah struck. Khalid Usman, the left-arm spinner, bowled an economical spell and took 3 for 38 off his ten overs. Rameez was the only player to get on top of the bowlers and he was the last man out in the 48th over, dismissed for 86 by Imran, who finished with 3 for 25.
Yasir Hameed gave the Panthers a rousing start with an attacking 31. At 56 for 2, Panthers had the edge but all that changed when Rizwan nipped out four wickets in quick succession to leave Panthers struggling at 86 for 7. It came down to a fighting half-century stand for the eighth wicket between Zohaib Khan and Usman. When Usman fell in the 45th over, Panthers still needed 25. Abdur Rauf, the wicket-taker, then trapped Zohaib lbw and the last-wicket pair fought for close to two overs but Zulfiqar Babar had the final say, getting Imran caught. With three losses in as many games, Panthers are the only team yet to open their account.