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The News

Leopards qualify for Silver League final

A round-up of the matches that took place on March 18

Islamabad Leopards finished on top of the Silver League table, as they easily defeated Quetta Bears, in the ABN-AMRO Cup final-round match by nine wickets at Islamabad. The Leopards will now meet reigning champions Lahore Lions in the finals on Sunday.
Islamabad had Quetta bowled out for a paltry 145 in 36.3 overs. Powered by an unbeaten 90 (off 68 balls) by Ashar Zaidi, the captain, the Leopards raced to 146 for 1 in a mere 20.5 overs. Interestingly, the Bears had a great start, reaching 112 in 21 overs for the loss of a single wicket, but then went on to lose nine wickets for the addition of just 33 runs inside 16 overs as Islamabad's trio of slow bowlers - Ashar Zaidi (3 for 9), Imad Wasim (3 for 26) and Afaq Rahim (3 for 27) - ran through their batting line-up.
Lahore Lions, who had already qualified for Sunday's Silver League final, lost their fifth and final-round match against Abbottabad Rhinos by eight wickets, at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium.
For Abbottabad, Zafar Jadoon hit a brilliant unbeaten 127, that came off a mere 82 balls with 17 fours and six sixes. With former Pakistan opening batsman Ali Naqvi, whose 52 not out took 36 balls, Zafar's unbroken third-wicket stand realised 168 runs in around 15 overs. The Rhinos blasted their way to the target in the 26th over.
Earlier, the Lions compiled 223 and were rocked by a four-wicket haul by Amjad Waqas, the slow-left arm bowler. Adnan Raza top-scored with 63.
Faisalabad Wolves defeated Lahore Eagles by 36 runs, in a fifth-round ABN-AMRO Cup Gold League match at Karachi, ensuring a place in next Thursday's finals. After being asked to bat first, the Wolves rattled up a score of 300 for six wickets in their allotted 50 overs. Then, they dismissed Eagles for 264 in 47.4 overs.
The Wolves were powered by a batting blitz from Naved Latif, who in his characteristic style, hammered a near century - 92 off a mere 47 balls with three fours and seven sixes. Earlier, Imran Ali had scored a rather patient 83 off 119 balls and with the in-form Asif Hussain (43 off 58 balls), the second-wicket stand was worth 75 runs.
For the Eagles, Jahangir Mirza (65) and Arsalan Mir (53) made splendid half-centuries. Aamer Sajjad's 45 required only 43 balls but Asad Ali, the seamer and Saeed Ajmal spelt doom for the Eagles with three wickets apiece.
Faisalabad Wolves will now meet Sialkot Stallions in a sixth-round match to decide the Gold League supremacy.
Saeed Anwar jnr hit a career-highest 166 as Multan Tigers beat Peshawar Panthers by six wickets at Karachi. Saeed's innings came off 148 balls with 22 fours and a six.
The Panthers, after being inserted first, made 275 for 8 in 50 overs. Multan reached 278 for the loss of only four wickets in 47.3 overs to gain a welcome win. Asif Iqbal made 50 for the Tigers and with Saeed, the third-wicket stand was worth 117. Twenty seven-year old Saeed who hails from Burewala, the same town which produced ace fast bowler Waqar Younis, has now placed himself at number nine on the Pakistani list of the highest scorers in a major limited overs cricket tournament.
The Panthers were off to a magnificent start, reaching 128 without loss. Then, their tempo registered a sharp decline. Rafatullah Mohmand top-scored for them with a brisk 85 off 82 balls while his partner Mohammad Fayyaz made 61. Their middle order was undone by Murtaza Hussain, the veteran offspinner, who took four wickets.
Shahid Yousuf's 113 helped Sialkot Stallions win their Gold League match against Karachi Zebras by four wickets at Karachi and join table leaders Faisalabad Wolves in their quest for the title, to be played at the same venue next Thursday.
Karachi, who have now lost all their five matches in the competition, batted first after winning the toss and lasted the full 50 overs before being all out for 279. The Stallions were home in 45.3 overs. Shahid, who has been a Pakistan Under-15 and Under-19 representative, bettered his previous best of 95.
Earlier, Shadab Kabir of the Zebras hit 78 off 90 balls with five fours and two sixes. Amin-ur-Rehman, the wicketkeeper boosted their total, hammering a 46-ball 70 with four fours and a six.
Karachi Dolphins beat Hyderabad Hawks by nine wickets in a one-sided encounter at Rawalpindi. After being sent in, Hyderabad failed miserably with the bat, and were dismissed for 129. Mohammad Hasnain, the seamer and Atif Maqbool , the offspinner, took three wickets each. Karachi went about their task patiently, reaching the target in the 33rd over, with Asif Zakir remaining undefeated on 73.