ABN-AMRO Cup

Afridi blitzes HBL to victory

Cricinfo staff

March 20, 2008

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Group A


Shahid Afridi smashed 84 off just 27 balls to power HBL to a five-wicket win (file photo) © AFP
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A 27-ball blitz from Shahid Afridi, scoring 84, powered Habib Bank Limited (HBL) to a five-wicket win over the Quetta Bears in Peshawar. Chasing 214, HBL were struggling at 76 for 4, but a 109-run stand between Afridi and Sulaman Qadir set up the win.

Afridi did the bulk of the scoring, his runs coming at a strike-rate of over 300. Naseer Khan suffered the most, conceding 61 runs off 4.3 overs as Afridi blasted eight fours and seven sixes in his knock. Fifites from Shoaib Khan jnr and Nasim Khan, and an unbeaten 41-ball 46 from Faisal Irfan has helped Quetta Bears post 213, a score that was chased down in just 28.2 overs.

In Islamabad, a century (109) by Umair Khan, and an unbroken 67-run stand for the seventh wicket between Naeem Anjum and Rauf Akbar sealed a four-wicket win for the Islamabad Leopards over the Peshawar Panthers, with ten balls to spare.

The Panthers top order chipped in with useful scores as they posted 255, with Nawaz Ahmed top scoring with 56. However, they suffered a collapse going from 190 for 3 to 255 all out in 49.5 overs. Raheel Majeed did the bulk of the damage with his legbreaks, taking 4 for 47.

Azhar Ali's hundred and an all-round performance from Saeed Anwar jnr sealed a thumping 107-run win for Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) over the Lahore Lions in Rawalpindi.

KRL chose to bat and their batsmen took full advantage. The openers added 98, with Anwar jnr going on to score 71. Bazid Khan scored a patient 45 while Azhar needed only 89 balls to score an unbeaten 106. Set a score of 289, the Lahore Lions lost wickets at regular intervals, and were bundled out for 181 in 37.2 overs. Anwar jnr finished with figures of 8-0-28-3.

Group B

At the Sheikhupura Stadium, the Hyderabad Hawks coasted to a comfortable seven-wicket win over the Multan Tigers.

Opener Hammad Tariq top scored for the Tigers with 68 after they chose to bat, but the rest of the batsmen didn't do much as they ended their 50 overs at 217 all out. Nauman Ali, the left-arm slow bowler, took 3 for 26.

The Hawks made easy work of their target; Faisal Athar's 90-ball 98 saw them home in 40.5 overs, and seven wickets remaining.

In Sialkot, both Tariq Aziz and Aamer Sajjad scored unbeaten 78s to guide Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) to an eight-wicket win over Sialkot Stallions.

Left-arm medium-pacer Sarfraz Ahmed took 4 for 39 as the Stallions were bowled out for 219. Opener Naeemuddin top scored with a run-a-ball 76.

Group C

Khalid Latif's 156 went in vain in a high-scoring affair in Lahore; the Karachi Zebras put on 291 after being asked to bat by the Lahore Eagles, who chased the target with 3.3 overs left in their innings.

Latif's 156 took 150 balls, and included 14 fours and four sixes, but only three other batsmen reached double figures, as the Zebras failed to go past the 300-run mark. Wasim Naeem contributed with 56, while the next-best scores were 32 and 13. Junaid Zia took 4 for 46 off his ten overs.

In reply, the top order of the Eagles failed to capitalise on their starts, but Junaid capped a fine day with the ball with an unbeaten 59 off 37. Junaid, along with Arsalan Mir, who scored 73 off 68, steered the Eagles to a five-wicket win.

National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) also successfully chased a big score in Faisalabad: they overcame their target of 272 off the third ball in the final over against Pakistan Customs. Fawad Alam's unbeaten run-a-ball 122 saw NBP home after Kamran Akmal built a foundation with his 62; the team were at a precarious 71 for 4 at one stage.

Pakistan Customs scored 271, thanks to a 71-run opening stand. The openers came up with contrasting knocks: Hasnain Abbas scored 42 off 42, while Imran Qadir needed 100 balls for his 57. Asif Iqbal, the captain, chipped in with 47. Qaiser Abbas, the left-arm bowler, took 4 for 45 off his ten.

Group D

Fahad Iqbal's unbeaten 92, supported by Kamran Sajid's 69 not out, helped Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) complete an eight-wicket win over the Karachi Dolphins at the National Stadium. Opener Shadab Kabir made 66 for the Dolphins, who chose to bat, but two wickets apiece for four PIA bowlers ensured they were dismissed for 245 in 49 overs.

In Hyderabad, the Rawalpindi Rams edged out a close one-wicket win over Sui Southern Gas Corporation (SSGC).

SSGC were down to 45 for 3 after deciding to bat, but an unbeaten 90 from Mohtashim Ali, aided by Mohammad Zafar's 51, helped them score 244 for 8. Fifteen-year-old Mohammad Aamer, who contracted dengue during Pakistan's Under-19 World Cup campaign, was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 35 from ten overs.

Another U-19 player, Umar Amin, made 51 as he and Babar Naeem put on a 120-run partnership for the first wicket during SSGC's reply. However, the rest of the batsmen fell after making starts, and a late flurry of wickets saw them collapse from 212 for 5 to 235 for 9. However, Aamer and his U-19 team-mate Mohammad Rameez held their nerve to clinch the win with one over to spare. Sohail Khan and Adnan Malik grabbed three wickets each for the Rams.

The Abbottabad Rhinos were shot out for 61 by Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) in Karachi. They were chasing 267, but fell over 200 runs short.

Only the top four went past ten, and all the six bowlers employed by ZTBL picked a wicket. Earlier, Inam-ul-Haq's 71 and Wajahatullah Wasti's 72 guided ZTBL to 266 after they were put in by the Rhinos.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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