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Maqsood, Ajmal help Faisalabad maintain perfect start

Sohaib Maqsood plays a pull AFP

Sohaib Maqsood smashed an unbeaten 42-ball 80 to hand Faisalabad a seven-wicket win against Lahore Blues in Rawalpindi. The Blues posted an impressive 187 for 5, courtesy Imam-ul-Haq's 31-ball 50 and useful knocks from Babar Azam (45) and Hussain Talat (26-ball 43), but Faisalabad's top order responded with as much aggression to comfortably chase down the target. The win was Faisalabad's second in as many matches.

Faisalabad captain Saeed Ajmal struck early to dismiss Ahmed Shehzad for 12 after electing to bowl first. Babar then joined Imam to add 70 for the second-wicket, off just 48 balls, to set the platform for a big finish. Imam, who scored 44 in the first match, hit six fours and a six, but was out soon after reaching his fifty.

Mohammad Hafeez, too, fell soon after, as he was run out for 18. Those two wickets in the middle overs coupled with Babar's strike-rate of 121.62 slowed Blues down. It needed a late blitz from Talat - who hit five fours and two sixes - to ensure they finished on 187. Taj Wali conceded only 23 runs in his four overs while Ajmal finished with 3 for 26.

Chasing 188, Faisalabad opener Gauhar Ali was out lbw in the second over, but Sahibzada Farhan and Maqsood added 90 for the second wicket to put their team ahead once. The Blues had an opening when Farhan was stumped for 58 in the 13th over, but Asif Ali then smashed 42 off just 17 balls to take the game beyond them. Asif hit five fours and three sixes, but could not see the game off, out with Faisalabad needing just two for victory. Maqsood eventually finished the game with a six to complete the win with 11 balls to spare.

In the day's second match, Lahore Whites' middle order did just about enough to sneak past Karachi Whites to complete a tight three-wicket win. Lahore Whites began their chase of 164 strongly, after openers Kamran Akmal (52) and Sami Aslam (56) put on 93 in 9.3 overs, but a collapse triggered by Karachi bowlers Zulfiqar Babar, Rumman Raees and Anwar Ali saw the game go into the final over.

Needing eight to win off six balls, Aamer Yamin and Amad Butt struck boundaries off the second and fourth ball to seal a three-wicket win for Lahore Whites.

The game turned on it's head after Karachi Whites took five wickets between the 15th and 19th over to negate the early advantage created by Kamran and Aslam. Lahore Whites slipped from 123 for 2 to 155 for 7 in the space of 24 balls - as Rumman and Anwar helped Karachi Whites claw back, but it wasn't enough.

That Karachi Whites posted 163 for 8 was courtesy Khurram Manzoor's 43-ball 64 at the top. Asad Shafiq was out for two and Haris Sohail could add only 17 as their score read 95 for 3 after 12 overs. Sarfraz Ahmed scored a brisk 26-ball 39 towards the end of the innings, but Umaid Asif's inexpensive spell - 3 for 18 off four overs - ensured Karachi Whites' total would always be in reach for Lahore Whites.