Mohammad Amir picked up 2 for 15 in 2.1 overs on his return to competitive cricket, as Rawalpindi Rams easily beat Abbottabad Falcons by six wickets in the Super8 T20 Cup in Faisalabad. Amir struck off his first legitimate ball, sending Sajjad Ali's off-stump cartwheeling back in the second over, before also bowling Mohammad Naseem out for 3 in the first ball of the last.
Rams, choosing to field, had Falcons at 23 for 2 in the fourth over. After a brief rain delay, Fakhar Zaman and Adnaan Raees put on 64 for the third wicket to take the team past 80, but Falcons' last seven batsmen could add only 22 run between them as they folded for 109. Rams' right-arm seamer Hammad Azam was their stand-out bowler with figures of 4 for 12.
Rams' chase received a setback when Mohammad Nawaz fell for 9 in the third over, but Naved Malik's 25-ball 39 and Zahid Mansoor's unbeaten 32 was enough to see their team home with three overs to spare, despite losing three more wickets in the middle overs.
In an interview to PakPassion before the game, Amir thanked his fans and supporters for backing him over the last four years.
"I am completely ready mentally and physically to play in this tournament and am feeling totally relaxed," he said, before revealing that he had already signed up for a departmental team to play the 2015-16 domestic season.
"There have been some offers for me to play in domestic T20 leagues around the world but this would be in contravention of ICC conditions so we have had to decline and just concentrate on playing domestic cricket in Pakistan. My immediate focus is simply to prepare for the first-class season ahead and to leave the decisions for any recall to international cricket in the hands of the selectors."
Half-centuries from Nauman Anwar and captain Shoaib Malik helped Sialkot Stallions gun down 168 with 11 balls remaining against Peshawar Panthers at the Iqbal Stadium. Stallions lost Mukhtar Ahmed in the second over of the chase, but Nauman and Malik counterattacked with a second-wicket association which yielded 141 runs from 14 overs to all but win the game. Nauman blasted seven fours and three sixes during his 45-ball 65, while Malik's unbeaten 95 off 49 balls featured four fours and nine sixes. Left-arm seamer Imran Khan was the only Panthers bowler to go at under six an over, ending with figures of 4-0-18-2.
Earlier, Panthers, opting to bat, were buoyed by a fifty from Israrullah (59) to make 166 for 6. Israullah and his opening partner Rafatullah Mohmand put up an 88-run stand, and Panthers were soon well set at 118 for 1. However, two wickets in the space of two balls in the 15th over hurt their momentum, as the middle and lower order struggled to score in the same intensity as the openers.