It was a mere formality for them, as Gold League table leaders Faisalabad Wolves brushed aside Rawalpindi Rams, in their seventh and last round ABN AMRO Cup, at Karachi on Tuesday. A seven-wicket triumph gave them their sixth win in as many matches, having already qualified for the finals earlier.
Faisalabad put Rawalpindi in after winning the toss and restricted them to a modest 219 for 9. Thanks to their opening pair, the Wolves reached the target in 46.1 overs. Mohammad Hafeez and his partner Abdul Mannan gave Faisalabad a good start, putting on 152. The left-handed Mannan, bettered his previous highest one-day score of 47 with a patient 91, off 140 balls with six fours and a six. Hafeez took 87 deliveries to score an invaluable 78 that included five fours and a six.
Earlier, Naved Ashraf top-scored for the Rams with 83 off 105 balls with six fours and two sixes and added 126 for the fifth wicket with Yasir Arafat, who made an unbeaten 63 off 81 balls. For the Wolves, Tauqeer Hussain, the fast-medium bowler, excelled with bowling figures of five wickets for 35 runs in his 10 overs.
Lahore Eagles reached the finals of the ABN-AMRO Cup after they attained a rather brisk six-wicket win over Karachi Zebras, in the seventh and final round match at Karachi. They will meet Faisalabad Wolves in the finals on Thursday.
Lahore won the toss and put the Zebras in and they scored 229 in 48.3 overs. Then the Eagles reached the target in 37.3 overs with Abid Ali (52), Kamran Sajid (59) and Aamer Sajjad (52) contributing half-centuries. Kamran and Aamer shared an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 83 in around 10 overs.
Earlier, Amin-ur-Rehman, the wicketkeeper, boosted the Zebras' total with a 69-ball 72, after Naumanullah had scored 60. With Wasim Naeem (25), Amin helped add 75 runs for the fifth wicket. For the Eagles, their opening bowlers - both left-armers - captured three wickets each. Mohammad Khalil bagged 3 for 34 while Pakistan Under-19 star Jamshed Ahmed snared three for 39.
Sialkot Stallions went out without a whimper as they were beaten by an emphatic eight-wicket margin by Multan Tigers, in their seventh and last round ABN-AMRO Cup match at Karachi.
Sialkot suffered because of the absence of four of their star players - Shoaib Malik, Naved-ul-Hasan, Mohammad Asif and Abdul Rehman - who are touring Sri Lanka with the Pakistan team.
Multan's Saeed Anwar Junior, who had hit a career-best 166 in the match against Peshawar Panthers last Friday, was brilliant again yesterday as he contributed an unbeaten 106, that came off 132 balls and included 11 fours.
The Stallions, who were asked to bat first, compiled a rather impressive 292 runs with contributions from Imran Nazir (52) and Tahir Mughal (41).The Tigers reached 293 for the loss of only two wickets and won with two overs to spare. Saeed gave Multan a start, adding 152 in a matter of 22 overs with Usman Tariq, the left-hander. Tariq missed his hundred by just four runs, his 96 coming off a mere 68 balls with 14 fours and two sixes. Saeed was later joined by Mohammad Ali Niazi and put on 128 for the second wicket. Ali's 67 came off 81 balls with four fours and a six. When he was dismissed, the Tigers were only 13 runs away from victory.