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Anas Khan shines as Dragons claim first win while Peaks remain unbeaten

Anas Khan and Peter Wooden excel as Dragons and Peaks secure victories in the second round of matches in the 2010 Elite Player Series.

Warm sunny conditions greeted players at the Hong Kong National Training centre, Kai Tak Cricket Ground for the second round matches of the Elite Player Series 2010. Two matches were on the card with Victory taking on Dragons in the first game and Stormers facing Peaks in the second.
In game one, Victory's Captain, Niaz Ali had no hesitation in batting first when winning the toss, but Victory found themselves in early trouble when the Dragons bowlers reduced them to 6/40. "Guru Indian Dinning Player of the round" Anas Khan was the star of the show as he claimed the best figures for the series to date with 4/14 off his allotted 4 overs.
Former National Captain Tabarak Dar was out early when he was caught behind for 1 off the bowling of Adil and then it was Imran Farcy turn when he claimed Muhammad Imran's wicket in similar fashion to leave the Dragons reeling at 2/16.
Anas Khan then destroed the middle order until some rear guard batting from Asif Khan (50 off 32 balls)) steadied the ship and allowed Victory to post a competitive score of 9/126 off their 20 overs.
For the second week in a row, Dragons where penalised for a slow over rate and were reduced to 19 overs to chase down the Victory's target.
Victory needed early wickets and that they did removing the dangerous Hussain Butt for only 1 when he lofted a drive to mid off where Tabarak Dar took the straight forward catch. The belief in the Victory team was electric but that is where it stopped. Some poor fielding and some intelligent batting saw Dragons ease to a comfortable victory in 16 overs - a result that gets them back in the hunt for a berth in the final. Nasir Hameed (57*) and Kinchit Shah (51) did the damage and the Dragons passed the score or the loss of only two wickets.
Stormers and Peaks took to the field for the second match in very warm conditions. With Stormers coming off a disappointing loss in round 1 and Peaks narrow win in Round 1 was sure to be a good game.
Stormers took to the field first, something they are used to after the first two rounds. It was a positive start from Peaks as they pushed the score past 25 in the first 3 overs before Shakeel was stumped looking to loft a ball onto the on side against spin of Waqas Dawood.
Captain Waqas Barkat (24) and Nizakat Khan (27) put on 40 for the second wicket and looked in control against some well disciplined bowling but both players fell to the bowling of Ateeq-ur-Rehman in the same over. Babar Hayat entered the fray and took control at number 5 with a well struck 65 off only 32 balls which included 4 towering 6s and some very positive running between wickets.
Taking advantage of a number dropped catches and some poor bowling, Peaks were pushing towards a score near the 200 mark but a good Stormers fightback in the later overs restricted the Victory to a total of 171-6 off their 20 overs.
Stormers Captain Afzaal Haider looked to the openers of Peter Wooden (89*) and Ranjeet Singh (22) to get them off to a positive start and this is exactly what they did with some clever batting and good stroke play to be well placed at 52 after 5 overs. Ranjeet was out with the score on 56 when he looked to hit Sohel over the fence, but found the safe hands of Tauseef Bukhari instead.
Stormers still had sights on their first victory but they lost wickets at regular intervals and soon fell behind the required run-rate. Only opener, Peter Wooden looked able to put the pressure on the Peaks bowling attack with some clever and mature batting, his 89 not out came off 51 balls and included 6 boundaries and 5 big 6s.
In the end Peaks score was too much for the Stormers who fell 22 runs short after their 20 overs.
Next week is vital for all teams in their quest to be crowned champions in the inaugural Elite Player Series. All teams can technically make the final, Peaks seem to be favorites after not dropping a game, but the competition is wide open with even Peaks not assured of a spot in the final on August 8th.