ABN AMRO Cup, Gold League, 2nd round February 28, 2007

Shehzad Malik steers Sialkot home after early jitters

Cricinfo staff

Despite being given a serious scare, the Sialkot Stallions beat the Lahore Lions by four wickets in their match at the National Bank of Pakistan Sports Complex ground in Karachi. Batting first, Lahore fell to pieces, managing just 170 all out in 40.4 overs. Aamer Sajjad topscored with 39, and that was hardly the sort of contribution that would make for a big total. When it was their turn to bat Sialkot began in nightmarish fashion, losing three of their top four batsmen for ducks with just 18 on the board. But Shehzad Malik, who made the only half-century of the match, reaching 59, and Mansoor Amjad (29) steadied the ship. Abdur Rahman and Khalid Mahmood remained not out and finished the game off.

The Karachi Zebras scored a four-wicket win with one to spare in their match against Rawalpindi Rams. Yasir Arafat, the allrounder who was just picked to head to the West Indies for the World Cup, top-scored for Rawalpindi with 84 after being put in to bat. Arafat, who struck four fours and as many sixes in his better-than-run-a-ball effort in the lower middle-order, was supported by Naved Ashraf, who made 44. Karachi ended up with 252 from their allotted 50 overs. Karachi began their chase well, with openers Agha Sabir and Khurram Mansoor adding 62. Then Asif Zakir, who used up 92 balls for his 55, and Faisal Iqbal, who took 48 balls to score 27, batted sedately but did the job in building a platform. A late charge from Hasan Raza, who made 51 from only 49 balls, sealed the deal, and Karachi crossed the line with an over to spare.

Asif Hussain's 94 went in vain as the Faisalabad Wolves failed to prevail over the Peshawar Panthers in their match at the National Stadium in Karachi. Despite Hussain's contribution of 94 for Faisalabad when they batted first after they lost the toss, Faisalabad could only muster 220. The only other contribution came from Naved Latif, who made 43. Fazl-e-Akbar and Zohaib Khan were the most successful bowlers, picking up three wickets apiece. Peshawar had little trouble in knocking of the runs needed, losing only four wickets in the process. Aftab Alam made 84, while Wajahatullah Wasti remained unbeaten on 41 and steered Peshawar home.