Dominant Sialkot Stallions won the battle of giants in the National T20 Cup after beating Lahore Lions by six wickets at National Stadium Karachi on Tuesday night. A collective bowling effort helped the Stallions to restrict the Lions at the total of 121 runs.
Seamer Naved-ul-Hasan bagged three wickets and was supported by Sarfraz Ahmed, Raza Hasan and left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman, each of whom took three.
Lions captain Abdul Razzaq made a quickfire 42 but the lower order crumbled and folded in 19.4 overs. In reply, Sialkot lost their openers in quick time in the chase but wicketkeeper Shakeel Ansar (42) and Shahid Yousuf (47) got their team back on track.
The pair added 72 and captain Shoaib Malik stayed through to the end with an unbeaten 15. Aizaz Cheema, Raza Ali Dar, Wahab Riaz and Abdul Razzaq shared one wicket each for the Lions.
Earlier, in the second match of the day, Rameez Aziz and Hasan Raza pulled off a heist as Karachi Zebras beat Abbottabad Falcons off the last ball of the game and claim a six-wicket victory.
Karachi had slumped to 28 for four in the fifth over and looked unlikely to threaten Abbottabad’s total of 158 that was built around Yasir Hameed’s 73. But Aziz and Raza first steadied the innings and then launched a counter-attack over the closing overs to stun their opponents.
Raza was the more aggressive of the two; his 74 came from 50 balls and included 11 fours. Aziz ended the day on 67 from 53 balls, with 10 fours. Their 132-run partnership was memorably capped by Raza as he struck left-arm spinner Khalid Usman for the winning runs.
In the third match, Imran Farhat and Taufeeq Umar powered Lahore Eagles to their third win in a row. Farhat and Umar both made half-centuries as Lahore cruised past Quetta Bears by nine wickets with 23 balls to spare.
Quetta struggled after choosing to bat, as Lahore’s bowlers proved difficult to get away. Umar was in the thick of the action in the field, running out Bismillah Khan and Abid Ali, the latter’s wicket setting off a Quetta collapse.
It took a quickfire 26 from Saeed Khan just to push his side to 125. Lahore’s openers made short work of their target. Farhat was the dominant partner, striking six fours and a six in his 50, which came from 33 balls.
Umar was a little more circumspect, his 50 taking 49 balls and containing five fours. The win consolidated Lahore’s position at the top of Group A.