KARACHI: Islamabad Leopards’ captain Umar Gul was fined his entire match-fee – Rs 4,000 – for ball-tampering in his side’s National Twenty20 Cup match against Quetta Bears at the Gaddafi Stadium yesterday.
Gul was seen with the ball close to his mouth during the ninth over and the matter was brought to the notice of the match referee Khateeb Rizwan who charged him under the level-II offence for tampering with the ball. Gul challenged the charge, stating that he was trying to cut off a leading thread off the seam but signed the charge notice and accepted the punishment.
“The laws don’t permit a bowler to even cut off a small piece of thread by his hand and Gul was doing that with his mouth,” an official close to the matter told The Express Tribune.
Four-time finalists Dolphins crash out
In past events, luck has not favoured Karachi Dolphins.
Yesterday, however, an uncharacteristic knock from Misbahul Haq (47-ball 72) helped Faisalabad Wolves past the Dolphins off the last ball of the match and into the semi-finals of the Faysal Bank Twenty20 Cup.
Dolphins’ third loss from five matches sealed the team’s fate in the event as the Twenty20 lesson handed out by Misbah served a brutal reminder to the team with plenty of international stars in the playing-XI.
Opting to bat first, Dolphins posted 147 for six as Khurram Manzoor top-scored with 51. Ehsan Adil, playing his first Twenty20, took four wickets to keep the Dolphins in check. In reply, Misbah, who came in at 22 for two, single-handedly led the Wolves’ assault.
Dolphins’ coach and former Test cricket Tauseef Ahmed was not expecting his star-studded side to crash out this early.
“Dolphins have always been one of the favourites but the team couldn’t click in this event,” Tauseef told The Express Tribune. “Nobody would’ve predicted us not being in the semi-final lineup. Our performance was below par given the fact that we had the services of several international players.”
Tauseef refused to blame Afridi’s poor show for the team’s exit.
“He tried to lead the side to the best of his abilities but it just didn’t happen for him. He was excellent with the ball as usual but I think it was his batting that has been a worry for him and I would stress nobody would be more concerned about it then the player himself.”
Debutants Stags reach semis
Debutants Bahawalpur Stags won their fifth match on the trot to qualify for the semi-finals after they got the better of Hyderabad Hawks by 11 runs.
Skipper Bilal Khilji led from the front, scoring a 27-ball 37 as Stags amassed 154 for seven while batting first. In reply, Hawks were restricted to 143 for eight as Khilji, Kamran Hussain and Mohammad Talha bagged two wickets each.
Elsewhere, defending champions Sialkot Stallions beat Abbottabad by 34 runs. Stallions accumulated 164 for six as Haris Sohail scored a 43-ball 62. In reply, Falcons could only manage 130 for seven.
Meanwhile, Saeed Anwar Junior scored 39 off 22 and took three wickets as Multan Tigers feasted on Karachi Zebras with a 17-run victory. Set a target of 141, Zebras bundled out for 123.
Naveed Malik and Awais Zia gave Rawalpindi Rams a 135-run opening stand to lay the foundations of an emphatic eight-wicket win over Lahore Eagles. Chasing 155, Rams raced past it in just 14.3 overs.
Rao Iftikhar took three wickets as Islamabad Leopards defeated Quetta Bears by five wickets. Bears made 111 for seven in the first innings.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2012.