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March 24, 2008
In a top-of-the-table clash in Islamabad, Khan Research Laboratories chased down a stiff target of 279 set by the Islamabad Leopards with three wickets to spare. Both innings followed a similar pattern: not much contribution from the openers, centuries for middle-order batsmen, big stands for the fourth-wicket, and vital runs from the lower order. What made the difference was that Bazid Khan, KRL's centurion, stayed until the end to shepherd the side. KRL's opening bowlers, both part of the national side, had contrasting days - Sohail Tanvir was smashed for 77 runs while Yasir Arafat had returns of 5 for 45.
A solid batting display from Habib Bank Limited saw them defeat Peshawar Panthers by 46 runs in Peshawar and leapfrog the Leopards into second spot. After being put in, HBL piled on a massive 340; Sajid Shah (82) and Rafatullah Mohmand (93) set the platform before Fahad Masood and Younis Khan injected the acceleration. The Panthers' chase was hurt by the fact that despite eight of their batsman reaching 20, only captain Akbar Badshah went on to make a half-century. Abdur Rehman followed up his brisk 25 with figures of 4 for 65.
To round off a day of high-scoring encounters in the group, the Lahore Lions clinched their first win by hunting down the Quetta Bears' 286 in Rawalpindi. The Lions looked in control of the match as a solid batting performance saw them reach 225 for 4, but then lost three wickets for three runs. Their No. 5 Usman Salahuddin, though, remained unbeaten and the target was reached with five balls to spare, assisted by crucial hands from Mohammad Shahzad and Mohammad Saeed.
The Multan Tigers are the only team without a win in the group after losing to the Sialkot Stallions by five wickets in Sialkot. After being reduced to 23 for 3, the Tigers' recovery was started by Hammad Tariq's measured 77 [which had only three fours] before Mohammad Hafeez and Zulfiqar Babar made some quick runs to boost the total to 259. Unlike the Tigers, the Stallions got off to an excellent start as Kamran Younis (103) and Naeemuddin (60) shared a 136-run stand. Despite offspinner Shoaib Masqood striking four blows, the Stallions overhauled the target with two overs to spare.
The other game in Group B saw the Hyderabad Hawks make a hash of a similar target against Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited in Sheikhupura. Offspinner Mohammad Hafeez and part-timer Khurram Shehzad snared three apiece as the Hawks folded for 135, imploding from 117 for 4.
This was another group which saw the batsmen dominate. National Bank of Pakistanopened up an eight-point lead at the top as they eased to a 74-run victory over Karachi Zebras after racking up 373 in Faisalabad. Openers Kamran Akmal (133) and Nasir Jamshed (87) put on 175 before Naumanullah (72*) and Shahid Yousuf (62*) compounded the agony of the Zebras. For the daunting target to be overhauled, the top order had to make big runs. After a decent start, they lost three wickets for three runs and, despite No. 7 Daniyal Ahsan's 96, ended up well short.
A similar loss of three quick wickets, though, did not stop the Faisalabad Wolves from pulling off a 17-run win over the Lahore Eagles at the Gadaffi Stadium. The Wolves ran up 290, with the highest individual score being Ijaz Ahmed's 67. The Eagles were well-placed for a victory when as they raced to 181 for 1 but slipped to 186 for 5 and with none of the lower-order contributing much, the Eagles slumped to their first loss.
At the National Stadium in Karachi, the Rawalpindi Rams completed an emphatic ten-wicket win over the Karachi Dolphins to go to the top of Group D. An unbroken 181-run stand between openers Umar Amin and Babar Naeem steered the Rams to their target after Yasir Ali's four-wicket haul had restricted the Dolphins to 178.
Put in by the Rams, the Dolphins were tottering at 17 for 4 before a 91-run stand between Akbar-ur-Rehman and Faraz Patel. Rehman was out for 56, but Patel went on to score 80, and was involved in a 49-run stand with No. 9 Azam Hussain to help the Dolphins to 178, a score that was chased down in just 28.1 overs.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) also continued their unbeaten streak with a hard-fought win against the Abbottabad Rhinos in Sind. Batting first, the Rhinos managed to bat out only 47 of their alloted 50 overs, scoring 210. Opener Ghulam Mohammad top scored with 65, while the rest of the batsmen failed to cash on after making a start. Najaf Shah grabbed 3 for 30 in his ten overs.
PIA's reply was anchored by Yasir Hameed, who scored 128 off 148 balls. Hameed hit 14 fours and two sixes and remained not out till the end as PIA were made to work hard during the chase - victory was achieved with only eight balls to spare. Rahimbaz Khan and Riaz Kail took two wickets apiece, but Hameed steered his side to a five-wicket win.
Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) were also made toil against Sui Southern Gas Corporation (SSGC) in Karachi. Zohaib Khan took 3 for 18 as the SSGC were bundled out for 202.
Sohail Khan, the right-arm fast bowler, scalped 3 for 27 in his ten overs, but a patient 108-ball 69 from captain Wajahtullah Wasti helped ZTBL complete a win with 12 balls remaining.
|Sui Sthn Gas||4||1||3||0||0||4||-0.698||871/200.0||848/167.5|
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