KARACHI: The debutants Bahawalpur Stags notched off their third straight win, beating star-studded Karachi Dolphins by two wickets in their Group B match of the Faysal Bank National T20 Cup 2012-13 at the Bagh-e-Jinnah Ground in Lahore on Monday.
The loss put the four-time runners-up Dolphins in deep trouble as it was their second loss from three games and they will have to win their remaining three matches if they are to reach the semi-finals.
Veteran first-class cricketer Imranullah Aslam, who had struck 89 in his team’s opening win against Rawalpindi Rams, once again played the anchor’s role. He smashed 48 off 32 deliveries with seven fours and a six to help Stags chase the 153-run target with three balls to spare after losing eight wickets.
Kamran Hussain, who has played two One-day Internationals, and Usman Tariq belted 18 runs each. Shahid Afridi remained the most impressive of Dolphins bowlers as he took 2-16 in four overs while Mohammad Sami, Tanvir Ahmed and off-spinner Misbah Khan got one wicket each.
Earlier, Dolphins, who conceded defeat against Rams on Sunday after a victory over Peshawar Panthers in their opener, failed to post a big total.
Wicket-keeper Amin-ur-Rehman, playing in place of unfit Sarfraz Ahmed, excelled with the bat, scoring 44 off just 23 deliveries. The 29-year-old right-hander dominated the 51-run second wicket partnership with Khurram Manzoor who belted just 13 off 19 balls.
Fawad Alam (43) and Khalid Latif (29 not out) then added a crucial 66 runs from 60 balls for the fifth wicket to take Dolphins to a fighting total.
Fawad hit two fours and a six in his 38-ball innings, while Khalid Latif cracked only a six in his run-a-ball knock.
Pacer Mohammad Talha, who has played one Test, was the pick of the bowlers as he finished with 3-43 in four overs, getting the prized scalps of Shahzaib Hasan (11), Fawad Alam and Shahid Afridi (0). Attaullah took 2-17.
Opener Mir Azam (59) and skipper Younis Khan (38 not out) guided Abbottabad Falcons to their first win when they defeated Islamabad Leopards by two wickets at the Gaddafi Stadium.
The duo put on 67 runs for the third wicket association to help Falcons chase the 117-run target on the second last ball. Azam banged ten fours and two sixes in his 35-ball innings. However, it was Younis who did a remarkable job by staying till the end as the wickets kept falling with quick succession at the other end.
Younis, who had scored 47 against Lions in the first game on Sunday, hammered two fours and a six in his 43-balls innings.
Umar Gul looked in his element as he picked 4-21, while Zohaib Ahmed took 2-28.
Earlier, left-arm spinner Amjad Waqas (3-21) and Khalid Usman (2-25) helped Falcons restrict Leopards to 116-8.
Imad Wasim, who had played a fiery innings in Leopards’ lost cause against Zebras, hit 35-ball 45, smashing five fours and a six.
Lahore Lions scored their third straight win, beating Multan Tigers by 30 runs.
Lions posted a decent total of 182-4 through handy contributions from dashing Ahmed Shehzad (68) and Umar Akmal (55 not out).
Shehzad cracked nine fours in his 57-ball innings, while Umar Akmal smashed four sixes and five fours in his fiery 21-ball knock.
Kamran Akmal (31) and Nasir Jamshed (21) were the other contributors.
In reply, Tigers were restricted to 152-5.
Saeed Anwar Junior (39), Gulraiz Sadaf (38) and Sohaib Maqsood (35) were the prominent contributors. This was the first loss for Tigers from two meetings.
Peshawar Panthers tasted their third consecutive defeat when they were routed by Lahore Eagles by 76 runs, their second victory in three games.
Eagles posted 162-8 with Imran Farhat hitting 68 off 45 balls, smashing ten glorious fours.
Test cricketer Azhar Ali (26) and skipper Taufeeq Umar (18) were the other distinguished scorers.
Left-arm pacer Waqar Ahmed took 3-36, while left-arm spinner Mohammad Aslam claimed 2-25.
Then Test pacer Mohammad Khalil (2-6) and leg-spinner Saad Nasim (2-26) restricted Panthers to just 86. Israrullah (22), skipper Akber Badhshah (17) and Mohammad Rizwan (15) were the top scorers.
Shoaib Malik (50) and Haris Sohail (34) added 74 runs for the third wicket unbroken partnership to guide holders Sialkot Stallions to their third successive triumph when they chased the 112-run target against Karachi Zebras in 16.4 overs.
Malik, who has had a splendid tournament so far, hit two sixes and four fours in his 31-ball undefeated effort, while Haris smashed three fours in his patient 44-ball innings.
Earlier, Zebras were restricted to a low total under floodlights at the Gaddafi Stadium due to splendid bowling from Adeel Malik, the younger brother of Shoaib Malik, who blew the top order with his leg-breakers, capturing 3-19 in four overs.
Daniyal Ahsan (24 not out), Faisal Iqbal (22) and Ramiz Aziz and Ramiz Raja with 21 each were the leading scorers for Zebras who lost their second game from three meetings.
Faisalabad Wolves defeated Hyderabad Hawks by eight wickets, their second straight victory. Hawks were restricted to only 97-8. Saeed Ajmal, Khurram Shehzad and Asad Ali took two wickets each.
In reply, Wolves raced to the target in 16.1 overs with Farrukh Shehzad slamming 51-ball 57 with nine fours. The right-hander added 74 runs for the third unbroken association with Naved Latif who scored 34 not out off 37 deliveries with two fours and a six.