Rawalpindi edge Abbottabad in big chase
A solid top-order performance helped Hyderabad Hawks defeat Bahawalpur Stags by 126 runs in Hyderabad.
Half-centuries from Azeem Ghumman, Faisal Athar and Taj Wasan took the Hawks to a commanding total of 290. They suffered a lower-order collapse, however, and lost their last seven wickets for 37 runs. Offspinner Zeeshan Khalid took two top-order wickets and three lower-order ones to finish with career-best figures of 5 for 44.
In reply, the Stags crumbled. They were steady at 104 for 3, but lost wickets steadily thereafter. Four batsmen got starts, but none of them converted those into something substantial. Two of the Stags' top-order batsmen were run out, which hurt their chase. Nasir Awais was the Hawks' most productive bowler with three wickets.
In Ghari Khuda Bakhsh, spinners Mansoor Amjad and Nayyer Abbas took seven wickets between them as Sialkot Stallions successfully defended 179 to claim a 14-run win over Karachi Dolphins.
Dolphins' openers had put on 21 runs, but once the first wicket fell, the slide couldn't be stopped. Partnerships of 31 and 30 for the fifth and sixth wickets provided brief resistance to keep them in the hunt. At 120 for 8, though, the contest looked to heading the Stallions' way, before a 28-run stand stand got Dolphins closer to the target. They fell short, eventually.
The Stallions, in their innings, had similarly stuttered. Shahid Yousuf (49) and Amjad (44), with a 73-run stand for the fourth wicket, got them to a strong 107 for 4, before the Stallions began to crumble. Spinners Fawad Alam and Atif Maqbool took three wickets each.
In a close contest in Mirpur Khas, Quetta Bears, led by a collective middle-order performance, earned a two-wicket victory in the final over against Lahore Eagles. Despite the result, however, the Bears remained at the bottom of the points table, below the Eagles.
They were pegged back at the start of the chase of 261 with three quick wickets, with two claimed by seamer Junaid Zia. But Taimur Ali (46) and the captain Bismillah Khan (67), with a 100-run stand, revived the contest, and a 64-run stand for the sixth wicket helped them remain in the hunt. But they continued to lose wickets along the way, and were eight down, two runs away from a win. The chase was sealed with the first ball off the last over.
For the Eagles, opener Sami Aslam and Jahangir Mirza scored half-centuries, and Junaid Zia scored 48, to lead their side to a competitive total.
A spirited chase by Rawalpindi Rams, led by Yasim Murtaza and Babar Naeem, helped them chase a stiff 303 successfully, to score a five-wicket victory over Abbottabad Falcons in Mirpur.
The Rams' top-order batsmen got starts but couldn't convert them into valuable knocks. At 84 for 4, Naeem and Murtaza added 126 runs to keep them in the hunt. Naeem struck 14 boundaries in his 83-ball 92, before being dismissed. Murtaza was then joined by wicketkeeper Jamal Anwar, and the duo added another 96 runs to take them past the target in the 49th over, with Murtaza finishing with an unbeaten 91, and Anwar scoring a quick 37.
The Falcons' innings was based on a century from Mir Azam and an unbeaten 94 from Adnan Raees. Their 235-run stand, the highest for the fifth wicket in List A cricket, helped them to 277 before Azam was dismissed for a 113-ball 134. The captain Khalid Usman smashed 22 off nine deliveries to get his team past 300. Eventually, it didn't prove enough for victory, though.
An all-round effort from Lahore Lions helped them beat Faisalabad Wolves by six wickets at the Gaddafi Stadium. Opener Azhar Ali and No. 3 Umar Siddiq, with a 143-run partnership, made light work of their target, after their bowlers had restricted the Wolves to 191 for 9.
The Wolves batted first and lost wickets steadily in their innings. Half their side was dismissed for 103, and it was a 42-run seventh wicket partnership that brought them close to 200. Left-arm spinner Qaiser Ashraf, with three top-order wickets, was Lions' most productive bowler.
In reply, Lions' opener Waqas Saleem was run out for a duck. But Azhar, who finished with an unbeaten 84, and Siddiq (81) took the contest away from their opponents. They reached their target in the 38th over. The loss kept the Wolves at the bottom of the points table.
Seven wickets between spinners Misbah Khan and Fawad Khan was backed up by an unbeaten 93 by Faisal Iqbal, to help Karachi Zebras clinch a six-wicket victory over Peshawar Panthers in Rawalpindi.
Chasing 211, they lost their opener Rameez Raja cheaply, but Khurram Manzoor and Akbar-ur-Rehman put on 46 runs for the second wicket, before two wickets fell quickly. Iqbal held the innings together from that point onwards with an attacking 95-ball knock. He got sufficient support from Mohammad Waqas and Tariq Haroon, to steer his side home in the 46th over.
The Panthers' innings was based on three partnerships of 49, 62 and 61 for the first, second and fifth wickets respectively. Opener Nawaz Ahmed scored a half-century, with Iftikhar Ahmed (42) and Zohaib Khan (30) chipping in. But Peshawar suffered a collapse from 190 for 4, losing six wickets for 20 runs to be bowled out in the 48th over.