Arafat and Afridi star for Rawalpindi and Karachi
The Rawalpindi Rams, mastered by allrounder Yasir Arafat, opened up their tournament campaign with a 75-run win over Quetta Bears in Lahore. Quetta's decision to field seemed justified when pacer Gauhar Faiz helped reduce Rawalpindi to 59 for 5, but Arafat and wicketkeeper Jamal Anwar gave the innings some impetus. Arafat hit 35 from 26 balls and Anwar finished unbeaten on an identical score. Naseer Khan, an offspinner, took 3 for 31 to check the tail and Rawalpindi were bowled out for 142 in 20 overs. Quetta's chase, however, never got off the blocks. Up against the double-international new-ball duo of Sohail Tanvir and Arafat, they slipped to 4 for 18 in no time, which soon became 46 for 6. Tanvir and Arafat took three apiece and Mohammad Aamer and Yasim Murtaza shared four. Quetta were shot out for 67 in 15.3 overs, their second defeat in two days.
The Hyderabad Hawks also got off on a winning note with a 30-run win over the Karachi Zebras in Lahore. Opting to bat, Hyderabad were in disarray at 28 for 3 before Rizwan Ahmed and Shahid Qambrani teed off. Rizwan top-scored with 57 from 43 balls and Qambrani finished unbeaten on a 36-ball 48. The two added 128 at a good rate, and their stand was followed by some good work from Khadim Hussain, who hit 21, to take the total to 169 for 4. Karachi were given an 87-run start from Shadab Kabir, a former international, and Shahzaib Hasan but lost nine wickets for 49 runs. Hasan was in belligerent mood, hitting three sixes in his 32-ball 61, but after Kabir was run out for a run-a-ball 37, the innings folded dramatically. The next highest score was just 9 with Nauman Ali and Faisal Athar sharing five wickets in quick time. Karachi finished on 139 for 9 in 20 overs.
The Multan Tigers defeated the Peshawar Panthers by seven wickets with 19 balls remaining in Lahore. Peshawar only made 103 in 19.3 overs, after limping at 59 for 8, with Aftab Alam's 59 proving the bulk of it. Abdur Rauf and Kamran Hussain, Multan's new-ball pairing, did the damage with five wickets. In reply Multan lost two early wickets but Sohaib Maqsood (39) and Saeed Anwar jnr (32 not out) finished the job.
Shahid Afridi was the main man in the Karachi Dolphins' eight-run victory over the Faisalabad Wolves in Lahore. Afridi's 12-ball 28 gave Karachi's innings a solid boost and his tidy spin bowling when defending a total of 155 proved vital. After a 58-run opening stand between Khurram Manzoor (34) and Khalid Latif (22), Karachi slipped to 97 for 4. Afridi then showed off his pyrotechnics with three fours and a six to lift the run rate again. He became the first of offspinner Saeed Ajmal's three wickets, but Karachi had posted a good score. When chasing, Faisalabad's No. 3, Mohammad Salman, batted well for his 48 after the loss of the openers. Just two short of fifty he was dismissed by Afridi, who proceeded to add Khurram Shehzad for 9. Misbah-ul-Haq slammed four sixes in an unbeaten 48 from 31 balls, but not for the first time in his Twenty20 career, ended up agonisingly close to the finish line. Faisalabad made 147 for 5 in 20 overs.
Lahore Eagles eased to an eight wicket victory over Abbottabad Rhinos, who lost their second game in two days, at the Gaddafi stadium. Usman Malik, the offspinner, was the star for Lahore taking 3 for 22, as Abbottabad capitulated for 87 in the 16th over after choosing to bat first, with only three batsmen reaching double figures. Malik was well supported by Azhar Attari, Asif Raza, the fast bowler, and Suleman Khan, the left-arm spinner, each of whom took two wickets. Abbottabad's bowlers, in response, failed to take any early wickets as Lahore openers Arif Khan (28) and Ashfaq Ahmed (31) added 50 for the first wicket at better than a run-a-ball. Victory was then a formality as batsmen Azhar Ali and Adnan Raza ended the one-sided affair in the thirteenth over to give Lahore Eagles their first win in the tournament after losing to Karachi Dolphins on Saturday.