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Khalid heroics takes Faisalabad home

Saeed Ajmal gestures on the sidelines of a practice session Associated Press

Lahore Blues soared to the top of the standings with a crushing win over Rawalpindi, who prop up the table with just one win in their seven games. The win was down to a superb bowling performance from Lahore. Agha Salman's figures were the most impressive, with three wickets in just ten balls to clean up the tail, but the platform had been set up Atif Jabbar and Ali Shafiq, whose combined figures read 7-0-42-5.

Rawalpindi's wretched batting performance saw only two players score more than six runs. In such circumstances, Iftikhar Ahmed merited particular acclamation, scoring a plucky 33-ball 60 to take them to 118, when in his absence his side could have slumped to a record low. Even so, the target was merely batting practice for the in-form Blues, with Imam-ul-Haq, Ahmed Shehzad and Hussain Talat all amongst the runs as they put Rawalpindi out of their misery with nearly three overs to spare.

In the day's other game, Faisalabad beat Peshawar in a dramatic finish. Imran Khalid smashed the last ball for six to power his side home. Needing four to win win one ball remaining and international star Fahim Ashraf off strike, Faisalabad looked to be done for. But Khalid pounced on a length delivery in his arc, and just managed to clear the midwicket boundary to guarantee Faisalabad a spot in the semis.

This was another low-scoring game, with no Peshawar batsman able to build on a solid start. Veteran opener Rafatullah Mohmmad was the top scorer with 32, and though four other batsmen reached double figures, none were able to construct an innings to ensure they could post a big total. Saeed Ajmal, in his farewell tournament, bowled a sensational spell, getting two wickets for 15 off his four overs.

The target of 140 looked to be too much for Faisalabad as they struggled to keep up with the asking rate. Sohail Khan's disciplined spell of 4-0-19-2 tied the chasing side down, and with 33 required off the last three, it appeared they would fall short. It continued to appear that way till the very last ball, when Khalid shot to prominence in fairy tale fashion.