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Lahore Blues edge home in thrilling derby; Faisalabad overpower Karachi

Imam-ul-Haq top-scored for Lahore Blues Pakistan Cricket Board

The National T20 Cup got off to a dramatic start in Rawalpindi, with Lahore Blues prevailing over their local rivals Lahore Whites by a solitary run. Batting first, the Blues' total of 169 was very much a team effort, with six of the seven batsmen who took the crease reaching double figures. Imam-ul-Haq top-scored for the Mohammad Hafeez-led Blues, with 44 off 32 balls.

In response, Lahore Whites were in trouble early, with Mohammad Amir dismissing both Kamran Akmal and - perhaps more satisfyingly - captain Salman Butt off in the first two overs to firmly put his side on the front foot. They would have expected to stroll to victory but for a sensational knock by Sami Aslam, who smashed an unbeaten 91 off 60 deliveries, but that just was not enough, just; Whites fell an agonising one run short in the season's opening game.

The other game was more straightforward, a 108-run opening stand between Faisalabad openers Sahibzada Farhan and Gauhar Ali helping their side chase down Karachi's total of 180 with a comfortable ten balls to spare.

Karachi got there thanks to a 39-ball 60 from Akbar-ur-Rehman, but lost momentum in the final over of the innings, in which Pakistan's recent hat-trick hero Faheem Ashraf took three wickets. It included the scalp of Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who fell for a golden duck off the last ball of the innings.

The opening partnership meant the chase was routine for Saeed Ajmal's men, with Anwar Ali and Mir Hamza coming in for particular punishment, conceding a combined 82 runs in 6.2 overs. That meant Faisalabad's victory was never in doubt, as they joined Lahore Blues as opening day winners of the 2017 National T20 Cup.