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Lahore Lions capitalised on a middling batting performance from Abbottabad Falcons to march to a seven-wicket win that helped them climb to the top of Group D and set up a semi-final clash with Multan Tigers. Lions ended on four points from three games - similar to Falcons - but progressed due to a better net run-rate.
Put in to bat, Falcons were dismissed for 131 and were in danger of being bowled out for a smaller total before a 10-ball 24-run partnership between Adnan Raees and Ahmed Jamal for the eighth wicket propelled them at the end. Both batsmen were the only ones in the line-up to score more than 20 as the Lions bowlers kept chipping away at the wickets.
Emmad Ali and Qaiser Ashraf struck twice each while Mohammad Aftab, Mohammad Irfan and Azhar Ali took one apiece. Hamza Paracha did not take a wicket but was the most economical Lions bowler, conceding only nine off three overs.
Kamran Akmal's boundary-filled 39 helped Lions tide over the early dismissal of Muntazir Mehdi, while Azhar's unbeaten 28-ball 32 steered the chase to a a close in the 18th over.
Talha struck three times in two successive overs at the start of the Leopards' 172-run chase leave them at 32 for 3 and the side failed to rebuild after the early blows. Quick wickets offset a couple of brisk partnerships between the middle and lower order batsmen as the side finished at 134 for 9.
Earlier, a fifty from Asif Ali and an unbeaten 41 off 31 balls from Misbah-ul-Haq helped Wolves post a strong total of 171 for 5. The 68-run partnership between the two batsmen took just 44 balls and helped steady the innings after early wickets. Once Asif fell, Misbah opened up and played a few big shots, helping the side accumulate 42 runs off the last three overs.
Lahore Eagles' bowlers set the team up for their first win of the season, after they beat AJK Jaguars by seven wickets in Karachi. Five of Eagles' bowlers went at under six an over, as they struck at regular intervals to restrict Jaguars to 105 for 6.
Eagles began the chase brightly, as the openers Sami Aslam (42) and Mohammad Naeem (34) raced to 79 in 8.1 overs. The team lost three wickets in quick succession, but Hussain Talat slammed a run-a-ball 15 to guide Eagles home with 33 balls to spare.
Bank Albaraka Presents Haier T20 Cup