Razzaq stars again as Lions coast home
A day after smashing a century, captain Abdul Razzaq showed his prowess with the ball, starring in Lahore Lions' comfortable five-wicket win against Faisalabad Wolves at the Gaddafi Stadium. The parsimonious Razzaq gave away only 13 runs in his four overs and picked up four wickets, thereby restricting Faisalabad to a barely defendable 124. Naved Latif and Khurram Shehzad offered some resistance in a fifth-wicket stand of 66 before Wahab Riaz struck. Riaz supported Razzaq well with the ball, taking 2 for 22 in his four overs. Umar Akmal and Nasir Jamshed led the chase with a stand of 70 for the second wicket before a sudden wicket-burst gave Faisalabad a ray of hope. Mohammad Talha picked up three quick wickets to leave Lahore at 105 for 5 but the breakthroughs came too late as the sixth-wicket pair guided the side home in the 15th over.
Unbeaten half-centuries by Naved Malik and Awais Zia helped Rawalpindi Rams blaze to a nine-wicket win against Quetta Bears at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. Naved smashed 73 off 37 balls while Awais made an exact 50, off 38 balls to knock off a below-par target of 128 within 13 overs. Fast bowler Mohammad Aamer warmed up for the ICC World Twenty20 with a three-wicket haul while captain Sohail Tanvir took 2 for 18 to restrict Quetta. Quetta had early success when Usama Shahroon fell for a second-ball duck but from then on, it was all one-way traffic.
Defending champions Sialkot Stallions thrashed Multan Tigers by 87runs - the second-largest victory in the tournament - at the Gadaffi Stadium to confirm their place in the semi-finals. Half-centuries from Sialkot's top three set up their huge total of 197. Opener Imran Nazir continued to be a bowler's nightmare, racing to 60 off 29 balls, including nine fours and two sixes in what was his second consecutive half-century. His opening partner Kamran Younis made a more measured 54 and No. 3 Shoaib Malik top scored with an unbeaten 62 off 37 balls. Multan's hopes of overhauling a stiff target were virtually ended by Sialkot's new-ball bowlers, Naved Arif and Kashif Daud, who took two early wickets each. Multan were at 18 for 4 in the third over and spent the rest of the match attempting to limit the margin of defeat to face-saving levels.
Islamabad Leopards marched into the semi-finals with an authoritative six-wicket win over Hyderabad Hawks at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. It was the bowlers who set up with the victory by bowling out Hyderabad for a paltry 117. After Shehzad Azam had struck two early blows, Hyderabad had stabilised and moved to 92 for 4, before collapsing spectacularly to not even play out their full quota of overs. Imad Wasim and Fayyaz Ahmed took two each to derail the Hyderabad middle order, and fast bowler Saad Altaf polished the tail. Islamabad were rarely in trouble during the chase, with opener Afaq Raheem's unbeaten 60 shepherding them to the semi-finals. Fayyaz also chipped in with 31, his 57-run third-wicket association with Afaq putting Islamabad on course.
Lahore Eagles strode to their second consecutive win and a semi-final berth, edging past Karachi Dolphins by 11 runs at the Gaddafi Stadium. Khaqan Arsal's half-century lifted Lahore to 167 before a combined effort from the bowlers restricted Karachi to 156. Arsal scored 56 off 30 balls before he was dismissed in the 12th over, caught by Sohail Khan off Fawad Alam. The lower order, led by Asif Raza, then pushed the score to 167. The Karachi top order didn't string together any big partnerships, losing four wickets and Shahid Afridi by the 9th over. Fawad resisted with a half-century and fell in the 15th and it was left to Hasan Raza to carry the team through. When he fell in the penultimate over, for 49, the task got tougher for Karachi.