Winning starts for Lahore Lions, Multan Tigers and Sialkot Stallions
Kamran Akmal and Aizaz Cheema starred with bat and ball respectively to help Lahore Lions sink Quetta Bears in the opening fixture of the RBS Twenty20 at the National Stadium in Karachi. Kamran made 68 in Lahore's 196 but Quetta's response was so meek, they failed to reach 100. An opening stand of 44 was the launchpad for Kamran and his brother Umar Akmal to shape a stand of 62 for the third wicket. Kamran added 38 with Kashif Siddique and remained unbeaten, hitting eight fours and a six in his knock. Cheema, the right-arm seamer, sliced through the top order to leave Quetta reeling at 24 for 6. They never recovered from that position, limping to 91 for 9. Cheema finished with 4 for 17.
The day-night fixture at the same venue was a closer affair, with Multan Tigers beating Peshawar Panthers by 22 runs. It was a commendable fightback by Multan after they were reduced to 23 for 4, recovering to 146. Jannisar Khan did the early damage for Peshawar, before the lower order led the fightback. The 58-run stand for the seventh wicket between Naved Yasin and Mohammad Hafeez was the best of the innings. Yasin top scored with 35 while Hafeez remained on 32. Peshawar began very confidently with the openers adding 48 before it all went downhill. Hafeez and Zulfiqar Babar (4 for 26) shared the bulk of the wickets to bring Multan back in the game. Israullah scored 48 but after his dismissal, in the 14th over, the match slipped further away from Peshawar and they were ultimately bowled out for 124.
Sialkot Stallions held their nerve in a cliff-hanger to overcome Karachi Zebras by four runs in the final game of the day at the National Stadium. The Zebras were favourites to finish it off as the rampant association between Khurram Manzoor and Faisal Iqbal, which had realised 125 runs in 82 balls, had to knock off 14 off 1.2 overs to finish the game. That was when panic set in, as both batsmen departed to run-outs off consecutive balls to throw away the initiative. Fourteen off six, with two new batsmen at the crease, became five required off the last ball, a task that proved too steep for Akbar-ur-Rehman as the canny Rana Naved-ul-Hasan dismissed him LBW to seal the thriller. The win was earlier set up by a strong batting effort, led from the front by the captain Shoaib Malik, who was risk-free and effective at the same time, striking just three fours in a 44-ball 67. Abdul Razzaq chipped in with a quick 38 as the score swelled to 171, despite the effort of Anwar Ali whose 3 for 24 had kept things quiet at the start. Mohammad Asif did likewise for Stallions, before Manzoor and Faisal nearly spoiled the day for the visitors, but only nearly.