The formidable Faisalabad Wolves lived up to their billing when they won the ABN-AMRO Cup Gold League ,beating Lahore Eagles by seven wickets in the final at the National Stadium in Karachi on Thursday.
Faisalabad have in fact regained their national limited overs title, which they had won for the first time in 2003-04 by bagging the season's Quaid-e-Azam Cup. Lahore Eagles were one of the losing semi-finalists last season.
After being put in to bat on a seaming pitch, the Eagles recovered from a shaky start of 43 for 4 in 16 overs to muster 244 , thanks to a defiant 62 by Shahbaz Butt, the wicketkeeper. Saeed Ajmal, the offspinner came under heavy punishment conceding 70 runs in 9.4 overs.
The Wolves in reply romped home in 44.1 overs, losing only three wickets. Naved Latif finished with 54 not out off 55 balls and Misbah-ul-Haq, the captain, remained unbeaten on 44. The two shared an unbroken stand of 93 for the fourth wicket.
Samiullah Khan, the left-arm fast bowler, picked up the Man-of-the-Match award for his fiery bowling, with figures of 4 for 25. The Faisalabad captain received the glittering trophy and a cash prize of Rs 2,50,000 while Aamer Sajjad, the Lahore Eagles captain, collected the runners-up trophy and a cash award of Rs 1,25,000.
The Faisalabad opening pair of Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Ali gave their team a flying start of 124 runs in 19 overs. Hafeez was trapped lbw by Sohail Ahmed for 67, where he clubbed eight fours and a six his during his 52-ball knock. Imran Ali's 73 included 10 boundaries.
Mohammad Hafeez (best batsman), Saeed Ajmal (best bowler), Mohammad Salman (best wicketkeeper) and Multan Tigers' Saeed Anwar Junior and Lahore Eagles' Abid Ali (joint prize for best fielder) got special awards carrying Rs 25,000 each.