Faisalabad, Karachi begin campaign with crushing wins
One of the tournament heavies Faisalabad Wolves began their campaign by crushing Abbottabad Rhinos by 90 runs at the National Stadium. Mohammad Hafeez and Asif Hussain set up the win with an opening stand of 89 before Asid Afridi, the left-arm seamer on debut, dismissed Hussain. Afridi later made a big impact in the final over, taking four wickets in five balls to leave Faisalabad at 165 for 7. The astute Misbah-ul-Haq, with 40 off 26 balls including four sixes, ensured it didn't derail his side from an impressive total.
Abbottabad's chase was never on, throttled early by Samiullah Khan Niazi. It turned out to be an evening for left-arm seamers as Samiullah dented the top order with three wickets. Abbottabad then lost three wickets with no addition to the score, including two to the excellent Shahid Nazir and at 57 for 7, the contest was long gone. Saeed Ajmal cleaned up the tail to finish with 3 for 4. Abbottabad are a traditionally weak side but were strengthened this year by the inclusion of a number of Peshawar players such as Yasir Hameed, Yasir Shah and Riffatullah Mohmand and will look to improve results.
Karachi Dolphins got off to a winning start making light work of Hyderabad Hawks at the National Stadium. They had much to thank the visitors for pressing the self-destruct button before crawling to 119, a target that was always going to be easy.
Opener Shahzaib Hasan, a World Twenty20 winner, provided the fireworks during the chase, smashing 46 off 21 balls, including six fours and two sixes. Once Karachi had reached the halfway mark in just the fourth over, Khalid Latif continued the momentum, blitzing 32 off 15 balls. The openers' charge was enough as the hosts sealed the win in the 10th over. Hyderabad had made a watchful start with opener Sharjeel Khan managing a near-run-a-ball 39, but three run-outs in the space of three overs meant they ended on a well below-par score. Fawad Alam was Karachi's most successful bowler with 2 for 20.
Group AMultan Tigers recorded their second consecutive win after cruising past Quetta Bears by seven wickets. Mohammad Hafeez and the tall Mohammad Irfan - at six foot ten, one of the tallest bowlers going - set it up by sharing seven wickets between them to restrict Quetta to a poor 99. Rameez Alam then scored an unbeaten half-century to guide them home within 17 overs. Irfan and Hafeez cut through the middle order to reduce Quetta to 59 for 5 and it was a position from which they never recovered. Hafeez finished with 4 for 17 while Irfan took 3 for 14 before wrapping up the innings off the penultimate ball. Multan lost Babar Ali off the first ball of the chase but Rameez piloted the innings to help them coast home.