Leopards and Lions share Silver League title
Islamabad Leopards and Lahore Lions were declared joint-winners of the Silver League in the ABN-AMRO Cup, as overnight showers prevented the final scheduled to be played at the Diamond Club Ground in Islamabad on Sunday.
Akbar Khan and Rasheed Bhatti, the umpires, and Khatib Rizwan, the match referee, inspected the pitch several times and waited till 2:00 pm before announcing that play was not possible. The ground staff did their best but the water had made the track a little spongy, and thus unplayable.
Islamabad's Ashar Zaidi and Lahore's Taufeeq Umar received the trophy from the chief guest, Syed Anwar Mehmood. The best batsman award went to Adnan Raza of Lahore while the best bowler award went to Mohammad Hussain, also of Lahore Lions.
Shakeel Shaikh, President of the Islamabad Cricket Association (ICA), gave away to Raja Kashif of Islamabad Leopards won the the best wicketkeeper award and the joint best fielder award went to Zaidi of Islamabad and Hameedullah Khan of Quetta Bears.
Asad Ali, the paceman, snapped up four crucial wickets to bowl Faisalabad Wolves into the finals of the ABN-AMRO Cup Gold League, beating Sialkot Stallions by six wickets at Karachi.
Faisalabad reached the modest target of 215 for the loss of four wickets in 46.2 overs with opener Mohammad Hafeez striking 10 boundaries in his 58. Faisalabad have thus maintained their top slot in the seven-team Gold League with 20 points with five straight victories.
Sent in to bat, Sialkot were dismissed for 214 with Asad Ali returning with figures of 4 for 42 and Saeed Ajmal, the off-break bowler taking 3 for 30 in nine overs. The talented Shahid Yousuf, who made a superb hundred in the previous match, again emerged as Sialkot's top scorer with 62. They made a great recovery after Asad Ali removed Atiq-ur-Rehman (1), Tahir Mughal (4) and Sarfraz Ahmed (4) in his opening burst.
Peshawar Panthers beat Rawalpindi Rams by 17 runs in an ABN-AMRO Cup league match, at Karachi on Sunday.
Peshawar scored 278 for 7 and later bowled out Rawalpindi for 261 in 49.2 overs. The latter lost six wickets with only 121 runs on the board after 23 overs before the lower-order batsmen started the recovery, but eventually, the target proved to be elusive. Sajid Mahmood top-scored with 62. Three Peshawar batsmen contributed half-centuries. Mohammad Fayyaz scored 53, newcomer Mahfooz Sabri hammered 66 off 64 balls and Taimur Khan took only 47 deliveries for his unbeaten 55 that included five fours.
Lahore Eagles beat Multan Tigers by six wickets at Karachi on Sunday, and now have a chance of meeting Faisalabad Wolves in next Thursday's Gold League final.
They have their last match coming up in the seventh round against bottom-placed Karachi Zebras at the National Stadium on Tuesday. At the same time, they would be hoping that Sialkot Stallions are beaten by Multan Tigers on the same day. The Eagles and Stallions currently have a points tally of 12 each with one match in hand. Peshawar Panthers have completed all their six and ended up with the same total.
Sent in to bat, Multan were bowled out for 179 to which the Eagles replied with 180 for 4 in a mere 35.3 overs. Multan had earlier crashed to 28 for 5 in 14 overs before being lifted by Kamran Hussain (82), and later by Mohammad Irshad, who hit 32 runs off 28 balls at number 10. Mohammad Khalil, the left-arm fast-medium bowler was responsible for Multan's early debacle, as he took three of the first five wickets. He eventually finished with figures of 4 for 29 off 9.2 overs.
Lahore too lost some early wickets. The fifth-wicket pair, however, put on 94 and took their team to a comfortable win. Aamer Sajjad hit 43 not out while Sohail Ahmed remained unbeaten with 46.