KRL secure semi-finals berth
Khan Research Laboratories have sealed a semi-finals berth with a 45-run win against Lahore Eagles at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. The win takes KRL to the top of the Group B table with 10 points. Lahore Eagles have played all their games and now have to hope the other sides in their group don't overtake them in the last round of games, to be played on January 22.
KRL were put in to bat and reached a competitive total of 269 thanks to a combined effort by their batsmen. As many as seven batsmen got scores of more than 20, with Mohammad Idrees the only half-centurion. Aamer Hayat was the pick of Lahore Eagles' bowlers, taking 3 for 38. Saad Nasim waged a lone war for Lahore Eagles in their chase, scoring 113 as the rest crumbled around him. Lahore Eagles ended up being bowled out for 224 in 49.2 overs, Nasim having scored more than half their runs.
Pakistan Television picked up their first victory of the competition in dramatic fashion, when their match against Peshawar at the Arbab Niaz Stadium in Peshawar was stopped due to bad light with them just one run ahead on the Duckworth-Lewis system, with one wicket in hand. Pakistan TV's chase of 223 looked on course after Umair Khan and Ammar Mahmood's 118-run partnership had helped them recover from 50 for 5. But Mahmood was out for 58, and three more quick wickets meant Pakistan TV were still nine short of the target with one wicket in hand when play was called off after 46.5 overs. Pakistan TV were adjudged winners by one run on the D/L method.
Umair finished unbeaten with 94, and he was the only one of Pakistan TV's top-order batsmen to score more than 10, as seamers Taj Wali, who finished with five wickets, and Riaz Afridi did the early damage for Peshawar. The hosts had got off to a shaky start to their own innings after electing to bat, but an 81-ball 73 by their captain Akbar Badshah, and useful contributions from Shahid Iqbal and Mohammad Rizwan ensured they got to a competitive total. But it wasn't enough in the end, as Umair's outstanding effort proved just enough to get Pakistan TV over the line.
A tight bowling performance by their spinners means State Bank of Pakistan have one foot in the semi-finals, as they beat Quetta by 46 runs at the United Bank Limited Sports Complex in Karachi. The win takes SBP to 12 points, and the top of the Group A table. Legspinner Kashif Siddiq was the most economical of SBP's bowlers, going for just 20 runs in his 10 overs, and picking up two wickets, as Quetta fell well short of the target of 239. Left-arm spinner Jalat Khan was also frugal, giving away 38 in his 10, and he and SBP's other left-armer Nayyer Abbas took a wicket apiece.
Nasim Khan had given Quetta's chase some momentum with his 56 off 64 balls, and his 66-run partnership with Sabir Hussain put them in a strong position at 126 for 3. Once Nasim was run out, SBP's spinners dominated, drying up the runs and chipping away at the wickets as Najeebullah, who made 42 not out, had to watch from one end while his team were bowled out in 48.2 overs.
SBP managed to reach 238 courtesy of Rameez Alam's 44 and Naved Yasin's 36, and also some wayward bowling from Quetta. The Quetta bowlers gave away 24 runs in wides, as extras, with 30, was the third highest scorer for SBP.
Half-centuries by Asif Zakir and captain Mohammad Sami led a fightback by Karachi Zebras, and they kept their chances of a semi-final spot alive with a two-wicket win over Lahore Lions at the National Stadium in Karachi. Chasing 236, Karachi were in deep trouble at 130 for 7, after their top order had been rattled by seamers Shabbir Ahmed and Asif Ashfaq, who took three wickets each. But Zakir and Sami put together 97 for the eighth wicket to get them back in it. Zakir was out caught behind off Shabbir, but Sami held his nerve to take Karachi home. The win means both teams are on eight points, with Lahore Lions slightly ahead on net run-rate.
Lahore Lions made a solid start to their innings after being put in to bat, with opener Abid Ali getting 47 and captain Mohammad Yousuf scoring 74, but, in a remarkable collapse, they lost their last six wickets for just eight runs and ended up being bowled out in 47.4 overs. The collapse was sparked by seamer Sohail Khan, who finished with six wickets.