Wins for Islamabad and NBP on high-scoring day
Faisalabad Wolves managed to scale down a competitive 266 by Lahore Lions in Sargodha, thanks to Zeeshan Asif's 98 and a brisk 63 from opener Imran Ali. The pair added 126 for the third wicket to lay the platform for a successful run-chase after medium-fast bowler Zulqarnain took a career-best 6 for 57 in Faisalabad's bowling effort. Lahore started well during their defence, taking the first two wickets for 31 and even after dismantling the third-wicket stand between Asif and Imran they took four wickets for 37 to put Faisalabad in a spot of bother at 254 for 7. However, Usman Harshad held his nerve with a 41-ball 36 to see his team through. Opener Sohail Ahmed starred for Lahore with an aggressive 91 but Faisalabad kept chipping away, preventing any partnership from reaching 50 runs after the fall of the first wicket. As it turned out, the effort reaped rewards as the Lahore score, despite being competitive, proved inadequate.
The Arab Niaz Stadium played host to another run-fest as Islamabad Leopards, led by a career-best 94 by Fakhar Hussain, managed a two-wicket win against Peshawar Panthers by chasing down a sizeable 324. Fakhar was ably supported by captain Raheel Majeed - who made a 36-ball 50 - and an aggressive knock of 60 by Zeeshan Mushtaq who ensured the target was overhauled successfully. However, even as Islamabad lost four wickets for 74 - debutants Nasir Khan and Hamad-ul-Hasan taking three wickets each - and were in a danger of being bowled out despite being well ahead in terms of the run-rate, Kamran Hussain and Shehzad Hussain held their nerve in an unbeaten stand to see their team home. Peshawar's score was built around partnerships with three seventy-plus contributions from opener Fawad Ali, Sajjad Ahmed and wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, who made 77 off 66 balls. However, their efforts were undone by an even better batting display by Islamabad to continue the trend of teams batting second winning the games on the second day of the RBS Cup.
Lahore Eagles, driven by a captain's knock of 93 by Zulqarnain Haider, and some aggressive batting by opener Ahmed Dar (61 off 41 balls) and an unbeaten 42 by Suleman Khan overhauled a challenging 317 set by Karachi Zebras at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. Left-arm spinner Adnan Kaleem took 3 for 52 but handy contributions from each of the Lahore batsmen enabled the home team to emerge victorious despite a commendable batting display by Karachi. Opener Shahzaib Hasan made 111 - his highest one-day score - and Babar Rehman scored a breezy 48 off just 20 balls during Karachi's innings, as Mohammed Naved finished as Lahore's most successful bowler with 3 for 71.
In yet another high scoring contest, Habib Bank Limited(HBL) romped to a comfortable five-wicket win against Water and Power Development Authority(WAPDA) in Faisalabad. The victory was set up by a 157-run opening partnership between Imran Farhat, who raced to 88 off 59 balls, and Ahmed Shehzad, who supported his partner well with 87. Though HBL did lose five wickets for 67 - Sarfraz Ahmed and Imranullah Aslam took two wickets each - Younis Khan, the Pakistan captain, and Kamran Hussain, who stroked 30 off 18 balls, ensured a convincing win with seven overs to spare. WAPDA recovered well to reach 269 after they had been restricted to 90 for 4 at one stage. Half-centuries from Naved-ul-Hasan and Bilal Khilji helped them post a competitive score but the HBL bowlers - Younis, Shahid Afridi and Abdur Rehman took two wickets each - did well to keep the opposition down to a chaseable score.
Salman Butt anchored National Bank of Pakistan's (NBP's) successful chase of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited's (SNGPL's) 254 with an unbeaten 101 at the Gaddafi Stadium. He had able support in Wahab Riaz, who made 42 off 39 balls, in an unfinished stand of 135 which saw their team to victory from a hopeless 123 for 6. Allrounder Mohammad Hafeez took 2 for 40 and NBP lost two wickets to run-outs as SNGPL got themselves into a commanding position. They had recovered well themselves after struggling at 93 for 5 at one stage before wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal, who top scored with 70, and Khurram Shehzad helped them set a stiff target. However, their bowlers squandered the advantage as Butt held firm amid all the wickets at the other end, and Riaz batted fluently to finish the job.