ABN-AMRO Cup March 22, 2008

KRL and Leopards stay unbeaten

Cricinfo staff

Group A

Nasir Jamshed slammed a century as the Faisalabad Wolves piled up 309 © AFP

A four-wicket haul from Saad Altaf helped the Islamabad Leopards complete their second successive win of the tournament, beating the Lahore Lions by 79 runs at the Diamond Club Ground in Islamabad.

Batting first, the Leopards managed only 218. Umair Khan, who scored a hundred in the previous game, top scored with 41. With 3 for 36 off his ten overs, Mohammed Saeed was the pick of the bowlers for the Lions, while Usman Malik had miserly figures of 10-0-29-2. In reply, the Leopards picked wickets at regular intervals as the Lions crashed to 139 all out in 36.3 overs. Altaf took 4 for 40 in his nine overs, while Ashar Zaidi and Kamran Hussain chipped in with two wickets apiece.

In Peshawar, Nawaz Ahmed's unbeaten 64, supported by a 44 from Mahfooz Sabri, helped the Peshawar Panthers complete a comfortable six-wicket win over the Quetta Bears. Chasing 196, the Panthers were at 79 for 3 before a 87-run stand between Nawaz and Sabri put them on track. Wicketkeeper Shehzad Khan scored 27 off 21 balls to steer his team home with more than 15 overs to spare. Four run-outs had jolted the Bears after they chose to bat: the four dismissed were the only ones to score more than ten, with Sabir Hussain's 46 being the top score as they were bowled out for 195 in 46.3 overs.

In a high-scoring game in Rawalpindi, Saeed Anwar's 113 helped Khan Research Laboratories chase down Habib Bank Limited's 285 with five wickets to spare. Earlier, Habib Bank Limited recovered from a shaky start through Khaqan Arsal's 66 and were powered to a big total by a quick half-century by Abdur Rehman.

Group B

In a close encounter at the Sheikhupura Stadium, in which both sides batted 48.5 overs apiece, Water and Power Development Authority edged out Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited by eight runs. WAPDA batted first and made 240, thanks toMohammad Yousuf's patient 83 and Tariq Aziz's 64. The chase looked to be on track but Sui Gas couldn't recover from the loss of three quick wickets on two occasions.

In Sialkot, the Sialkot Stallions made short work of a modest target of 206 set by the Hyderabad Hawks. Playing in only his second List A game, 26-year-old Naeemuddin slammed a century, to follow up his 76 on debut, as the Stallions cantered to a nine-wicket win. Haris Sohail also chipped in with a measured 75.

Group C

Even a big total of 298 was not enough to prevent the Karachi Zebras from sliding to their second straight defeat against Pakistan Customs in Lahore. The Zebras stage a superb comeback after medium-pacer Raees Amjad ripped through their top-order to leave them struggling at 45 for 4. Afsar Nawaz (77) and Daniyal Ahsan (84) shared a 123-run stand, and some late-order biffing from Tanvir Ahmed bolstered them. Customs' chase was built around No. 4 Mohammad Nabi's unbeaten 112, with useful contributions from Imran Qdir and Rehan Rafiq. Customs were also helped by some wayward Zebras bowling, which conceded as many as 26 wides.

In Faisalabad, National Bank of Pakistan won their second consecutive match to move to the top of Group C. They piled on a massive 307 against Faisalabad Wolves, with Nasir Jamshed doing the star turn with a brisk century. Salman Butt, Fawad Alam and Mansoor Amjad also made handy contributions. While the Wolves were kept in the hunt by half-centuries from middle-order batsmen Usman Arshad and Ijaz Ahmed, they lost their last six wickets for 28 runs to slump to a 75-run defeat.

Group D

Yasir Ali took 5 for 16 to star in the Rawalpindi Rams' seven-wicket win over the Abbottabad Rhinos in Hyderabad. Put in to bat, the Rhinos were ripped open by Yasir as they collapsed to 22 for 6. Their innings was given a semblance of respectability by Riaz Kalil, who scored an unbeaten 60. Umar Amin led the Rams' chase with 38 off 42 balls, after which Naved Ashraf finished things off with an unbeaten 61-ball 62 that included two sixes and five fours.

Sui Southern Gas Corporation prevailed over Karachi Dolphins by 28 runs in a high-scoring encounter in Karachi. The Dolphins' decision to field backfired when Asif Zakir (87) and Ashraf Ali (81) added 161 runs for the second wicket. After Saeed Bin Nasir and Mohammad Zafar both scored 40s, Haaris Ayaz took SSGC past the 300-run mark by blitzing 39 off 28. Azam Hussain, the left-arm spinner, polished off the tail to take 4 for 36. The Dolphins kept up with the required run-rate, but their top order could not build on their starts as they stumbled to 154 for 5. Akbar-ur-Rehman then played the lone hand, scoring an unbeaten 106 off only 87 balls, but his effort was in vain as his partners failed to match his scoring rate.

Sarfraz Ahmed, the former Pakistan Under-19 captain, improved his chances for selection for the upcoming ODIs against Bangladesh by scoring a 114-ball 101 in Pakistan International Airlines' 90-run win over the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited at National Stadium in Karachi. The ZTBL seamers struck regularly to leave PIA at 96 for 5, but Sarfraz, in partnership with his captain Faisal Iqbal (72), resurrected their innings with a 103-run sixth-wicket stand. Chasing, ZTBL had a poor start when an Ali Imran double-strike had them reeling at 47 for 3. Though Wajahatullah Wasti (61) and Adnan Raza (45) briefly raised ZTBL's hopes by putting on 77 runs for the fourth wicket, their innings went spiralling downward after the duo were dismissed.