Twenty20 Cup 2005-06 March 1, 2006

Malik stars for Sialkot

Cricinfo staff

Pool A

Shoaib Malik turned in a fine all-round performance to guide the Sialkot Stallions to a comprehensive 83-run win against Karachi Zebras. Malik's 78, off 37 balls, helped the Stallions post an imposing total of 217 in their 20 overs. Danish Kaneria was the pick of the Karachi bowlers, picking up 4 for 31. The Zebras, however, were never really in the hunt, and at one stage were tottering at 98 for 7. Sarfraz Ahmed, the pace bowler and Malik, with his offbreaks, took three wickets each, with Malik cleaning up the lower order.

Faisalabad Wolves asserted their authority, beating the Lahore Eagles by 43 runs at Karachi. Choosing to bat first, all the Wolves batsmen made useful contributions with Mohammad Salman, the captain, making 46. Among the Lahore bowlers, Jahangir Mirza bagged four wickets with his legbreaks, mostly accounting for the lower order. The Wolves were dismissed for a competitive total of 205. In reply, Imran Farhat played an explosive innings of 62 from just 23 balls with nine fours and a six but lacked support from the rest as the wickets kept tumbling. The Eagles were ultimately bowled out for 162, failing to bat out their quota of overs.

Peshawar Panthers sneaked past Multan Tigers by one run in a thrilling encounter. Batting first, the Peshawar middle order piled on the runs with Akhtar Sarfraz top-scoring with an undefeated 48. Mohammad Fayaz was the most aggressive, striking seven fours and two sixes in his 45 off only 20 balls. Chasing 188, the Tigers fell short by a solitary run, with Saeed Anwar Jnr top-scoring with 54. However, they didn't do their cause any good - losing four wickets - with some horrendous running between the wickets.

Pool B

Karachi Dolphins cantered to an easy seven-wicket victory over Hyderabad Hawks in a low-scoring encounter and have booked their spot in the semi-finals. The Karachi bowlers managed to stifle the batsmen, returning with relatively economical figures. The Hawks' score of 112 for 8 proved woefully short as the Dolphins, led by opener Agha Sabir (51*) and Asim Kamal (33) completed the formalities.

In another thrilling encounter, Lahore Lions beat Abbottabad Rhinos by one run at the National Stadium in Karachi. Batting first, the Lions posted a total of 163 with useful contributions from the top-three. Amjad Waqas and Dilawar Khan took three wickets each. For the Rhinos, Ali Naqvi fell seven short of his fifty, dismissed by Shehzad Butt. Unable to push the scoring, the Rhinos ended with 162 for 7.

Quetta Bears succumbed to their fifth successive loss in the competition, losing to Islamabad Leopards by 43 runs. The Leopards posted a total of 158, with Bilal Asad top-scoring with 31. Rauf Akbar, the fast-medium bowler, rocked the Quetta top order with 4 for 28 off his four overs. After Sabir Hussain scored 40, the rest of the batsmen just capitulated and were bowled out for 115.