Abbottabad start with thumping win
Abbottabad Falcons opened their Faysal Bank T20 Cup campaign with a dominant 72-run win over perpetual also-rans Quetta Bears. The victory was set up by opener Yasir Hameed's maiden Twenty20 century, which propelled Abbottabad to the tall total of 190. Quetta bowled reasonably well in the first half of the innings, keeping Abbottabad to 74 for 2, but a 116-run unbroken stand for the third wicket between Hameed and Adnan Raees turned the game. Raees slammed 51 off 30 balls while Hameed's 101 took him 65 deliveries. The Quetta chase lost steam early with the loss of opener Fareed-u-din in the second over. The other opener Bismillah Khan and the No. 3 Abid Ali both scored at below a run-a-ball when the asking rate was in excess of 10. When they were separated, Quetta were 72 in the 12th over, with the required rate above 14, which proved too tough a task for the remaining batsmen.
The second game of the day followed a similar pattern to the first, with Lahore Lions piling on a big score that Hyderabad Hawks didn't even look close to chasing. The Lahore openers laid the platform for the thumping 82-run win: Kamran Akmal was the initial aggressor, before Ahmed Shehzad joined in the rampage. The pair pummelled 116 in 12 overs, before an Umar Akmal cameo lifted the total to 194. Hyderabad's openers began briskly but couldn't maintain the tempo. By the 10th over, they were hopelessly behind, needing more than 12 an over, a rate which proved too much for the rest. Their lower order crumbled under the pressure to get quick runs and Hyderabad were bowled out for 112.
Lahore Eagles kept their nerve in a frenetic final two overs to pip Karachi Zebras by two runs at the National Stadium in Karachi. The home side had the edge with seven balls to go, needing 11 runs with five wickets in hand. But Akbar-ur-Rehman was stumped off the bowling of Saad Nasim off the last ball of the 19th over to set up a tense final over. Anwar Ali managed seven runs from the first three balls and seemed to have taken the game away from Lahore, but he was run-out of the fourth ball of the over. With four needed from two balls, No.8 Farhan Iqbal took a single to leave Pakistan legspinner Danish Kaneria the task of getting the three runs needed for the win. Unfortunately for Karachi, Kaneria holed out to Hamza Paracha off the bowling of Emmad Ali to end the game and hand Lahore the victory.
Lahore had made a quick start, with their openers adding 43 in 4.3 overs, but regular wickets stalled the innings before a flurry at the end - Junaid Zia made 22 from 12 balls and Ali Azmat an unbeaten 36 from 37 - took them to 143. That Karachi got so close was down to Hasan Raza and Faisal Iqbal, who added 95 for the third wicket before Rasa was run-out for 49. Faisal followed four runs later, caught of the bowling off Nasim for 47, to set up the thrilling finish.