Balochistan tame high-flying Leopards in Pentangular Cup


Bilal Memon April 24, 2010

KARACHI: Balochistan Bears inflicted Federal Areas Leopards’ first defeat of the RBS Pentangular One Day Cup at the National Stadium Karachi.

The 24-run loss came as a shock to the Federal Areas following their remarkable win in the last match courtesy six wickets by Shoaib Akhtar. Leopards, who did a good job restricting Balochistan to 242, were bowled out in the 47th over for 218. Zulfiqar Babar - fresh from a six-for in his last match against Punjab Stallions - picked up three more wickets to continue his good run in the tournament. Chasing a modest total, Federal Areas were off to an excellent start. Openers Raheel Majeed (38) and Umair Khan (46) put a 63-run stand in less than 11 overs before Rizwan Haider claimed the first of his two wickets. Eight runs later, Umair Amin became his second victim as he was dismissed for five.

Skipper Bazid Khan failed to contribute again as he went back for 18 and Federal Areas were reduced to 98 for three. The big wicket was, however, claimed by part-time spinner Taufeeq Umar when he caught and bowled Amin. Wickets continued to tumble at regular intervals as Babar and tall fast-bowler Mohammad Irfan - who finished with two wickets for 52 - making sure that Federal Areas fell short of the target. Balochistan were earlier pegged back by impressive new-ball bowling by Akhtar and Mohammad Rameez.

The Bears crawled to eight runs off five overs, losing the in-form Taufeeq Umar (three) and Abid Ali (zero) on the way as Akhtar and Rameez grabbed a wicket each. Saeed Anwar junior (11) did not last long either as he fell to Shehzad Alam in the 11th over. However, Gulraiz Sadaf (53) and Rameez Alam (72) shared a much-needed 88- run partnership to gain some respectability for the total. Imad Wasim had the better of Sadaf, who was dismissed for a well-made half-century that included five boundaries and a six.

The next partnership was even more crucial as Alam and Jalat Khan (43) added 55 and in only 44 balls to take the score to 174 and set the platform for the final overs. Alam was eventually dismissed by Yasim Murtaza and it was left to Jalat to push the final score towards 250. He hit four boundaries and a couple of sixes as Kashif Naved (20) put on 40 runs in only four overs to put Balochistan back in business. But Rameez, who had earlier put the brakes on the scoring, once again struck a crucial blow.

As the batsmen tried to increase the scoring-rate, wickets fell as well. Ramiz had Naved caught behind and then had Rizwan Haider caught out by Wasim as Balochistan were reduced to 240 for eight. Akhtar, who had conceded just five runs in his first five overs, went for plenty in his last spell but had his revenge as he cleaned up the tail -picking up two wickets in two balls. He ended up with figures of three for 38. Rameez was the pick of the bowlers though, finishing up with a four for 43 in the match to restrict Balochistan to 242.

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