Amin and Raheem smash Leopards to victory
Federal Areas Leopards 276 for 4 (Amin 125*, Raheem 129*) beat Baluchistan Bears 275 (Fahad Iqbal 68, Misbah 63, Kamran Hussain 56, Shoaib 4-57) by seven wickets
Centuries from Umar Amin and Afaq Raheem in an unbeaten 251-run partnership led the Federal Areas Leopards a convincing seven-wicket win over Baluchistan Bears at the National Stadium in Karachi. It capped a fine fightback, after Federal Areas had slipped to 25 for 3 chasing 277 but Amin and Raheem rattled up impressive, brisk centuries to settle the affair as early as the 46th over.
Raheel Majeed, Babar Naeem and Sohail Tanvir - pushed up the order - had all gone for single-digit scores to give Baluchistan a real shot at a win. But almost immediately, Amin and Raheem countered and in some style.
The left-handed Amin has been on the radar of national selectors for some time now and locals in Rawalpindi speak highly of him; he scored an impressive century for Pakistan Under-19s in England last year and built on that against Bangladesh U19 since. He made an impressive first-class debut too for Rawalpindi.
Though an opener by trade, Amin came in at No. 4 here because of what he said was the glut of openers in the side. Not that he seemed out of place, playing most often with as straight a bat as possible. A number of drives down the ground revealed a tight technique and the pace of scoring - over a run a ball - hinted at a fine repertoire of strokes.
Halfway through, as Amin continued picking off a disappointing Danish Kaneria and Abdur Rauf, a hundred already seemed inevitable. He ended unbeaten on 125 from 121 deliveries, the first of what should be many limited-overs centuries.
Raheem wasn't to be left behind, either in pace or strokeplay. A little older, Raheem has also floated around the scene, as an impressive first-class and more impressive domestic limited-overs average of over 50 suggests. As Baluchistan's bowlers persisted in pitching it up, so Raheem drove, through the covers, over the top; anywhere in fact but mostly to the boundary. A fifth hundred - a personal best - was a formality by the end, and no shame that he reached it after Amin.
Bigger names had earlier starred for Federal Areas with the ball. Shoaib Akhtar, captain and returning to some fitness, had reduced Baluchistan to 32 for 3 with some help from Tanvir. No speed guns were on show, but Shoaib generated considerable pace dismissing the in-form Saeed Anwar jnr. Tanvir's swing, angles and nous accounted for both openers.
A 114-run stand between Fahad Iqbal (68) and the captain Misbah-ul-Haq (63 from 64 balls) resurrected Baluchistan's innings, but they proceeded to lose three wickets for five runs once the duo were dismissed. Another brace of wickets at the death - Shoaib finished with 4 for 57 and Tanvir took 3 for 57 - hurt Baluchistan further, though Kamran Hussain's 56 from 34 balls - as well as continuing his own splendid form - appeared to have boosted them to a competitive 275. Amin and Raheem, however, had other ideas.