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Lahore Lions, joint winners last season, reached the final of the ABN-AMRO Cup silver league, with a comfortable nine-wicket win over the Quetta Bears, in their fifth and last round match at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
With 16 points from five matches, the Lions marched straight into the final, where they will replay last season's final by taking on the Islamabad Leopards.
The Bears, batting first after winning the toss, were bowled out for just 166, pace bowler Imran Ali picking up three for 31. Kashif Siddiq's legspin came in handy too, picking up a couple of timely wickets.
Siddiq, Lions captain, then hammered an unbeaten 94 off only 63 deliveries with 16 fours and a six as his team seared through the chase with over half their overs left for a fourth win in five matches. With Junaid Malik's sedate fifty, Siddiq put on an unbroken second-wicket partnership of 140 runs at blistering speed, just missing what would have been the first century of his limited overs career.
Islamabad Leopards chalked up a massive 216-run victory over Hyderabad Hawks, booking their place in the final of silver league against Lahore Lions at the Diamond Club ground in Islamabad.
The Hawks were never in it, after winning the toss and putting in the Leopards, who duly stacked up 370 runs for the loss of seven wickets. Opener Afaq Rahim, from Mirpur in Azad Jammu & Kashmir, top-scored with 95 and was helped along the way by contributions from Ashar Zaidi and Raheel Majeed. Ameer Khan's rampaging 26-ball 42 provided the perfect end note.
The Hawks were never in it, losing early wickets as they stuttered to 42 for four and eventually 154 all out with nearly 20 overs of their innings left. Nauman Ali, with 43, and Pir Zulfiqar provided a brief, futile fight as Fakhir Hussain ended with three wickets.
Abbottabad Rhinos stopped Multan Tigers from sneaking into the finals with a narrow seven-run win at the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) Stadium in Rawalpindi on Sunday.
The Rhinos chose to bat first, and riding on the back of a maiden century at better than a run-a-ball from Karachiite Wajid Ali and Zafar Jadoon's fifty, raced to 295. Ali's opening stand with Jadoon was worth 105 runs from only 17 overs and the total was reached despite Kamran Hussain's five-for.
The Tigers responded with an opening century of their own, from the 23-year old left-hander Usman Tariq, whose manic 114 came from a mere 65 balls. equally positively. With Azhar Shafiq, he put on 129 for the second wicket
Usman's second-wicket stand with Azhar Shafiq (35) was worth 129 runs, but despite contributions from the lower order, it wasn't enough. Just.