KARACHI: Three deliveries were all Abdul Razzaq needed to send six-time winners Sialkot Stallions crashing out of the Faysal Bank Twenty20 Cup – two of those were sent over the bowler’s head as well as the rope as Lahore Lions sealed a five-wicket win under lights at Gaddafi Stadium.
The Lions, who had already qualified for the semi-finals, needed 13 off the last over. Rana Naved’s first three deliveries produced just two runs and the wicket of Umar Akmal.
However, Razzaq dispatched his first ball over long-on followed by a swing to cow corner producing a couple. As Shoaib Malik (Stallions’ captain), Naved and Nazir converged, smiling as they planned Razzaq’s downfall, the batsman refused to share his feelings with just one thing on his mind: a boundary.
But as Naved galloped in once again and delivered, Razzaq, with utmost ease, smashed it over long-off to seal the Stallions’ fate and their chances of representing Pakistan in next year’s Champions League (if Pakistan do get a slot again).
Earlier, Stallions scored 160 for five with the promoted Naved smashing a 41-ball 63, clubbing five sixes and two boundaries.
Stallions ended the group stage level on points with Multan Tigers and Abbottabad Falcons but Multan progressed to the knockouts on better run-rate where they will face Faisalabad Wolves.
Tigers outrace Leopards
Multan’s progress was possible given their five-wicket win over Islamabad Leopards earlier in the day. Tigers chased down the 136-run target in just 14 overs and losing five wickets. Saeed Anwar Junior remained unbeaten on 43.
Falcons defeated Quetta Bears in the event’s first Super-Over result after both sides were tied on 126. Bears only managed six for one which the Falcons eased past in just three balls.
Elsewhere, Naved Malik produced another whirlwind performance, striking an unbeaten 42-ball 67 with four sixes and as many four to guide Rawalpindi Rams to a seven-wicket win against Peshawar Panthers.
Rams raced past the 142-run target after having contained Peshawar to 141 courtesy a three-wicket haul by Hammad Azam.
Stags’ unbeaten run ends
In another match, Faisalabad Wolves finally ended Bahawalpur Stags’ unbeaten run with a 10-run win. Wolves scored 121 for seven batting first before restricting Stags to 111 for eight thanks to Ehsan Adil, who took three wickets.
Half-centuries from Fawad Alam (65) and Khurram Manzoor (60) gave Karachi Dolphins a consolation six-wicket win over neighbours Hyderabad Hawks as they chased down the 162-run target in the final over of the match.
Earlier, Hawks had scored 161 for four with Azeem Ghumman scoring 71 off 53 balls while Sharjeel Khan hammered 54 with three sixes and five boundaries.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2012.
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