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Afridi marks first-class return with half-century

Target Reports suggest that Shahid Afridi turned down an approach from match fixers in 2012

KARACHI: Pakistan T20 captain Shahid Afridi marked his return to first-class cricket with a typically aggressive half-century for HBL as he made his first appearance in the four-day format after four years.

The Pakistan all-rounder, who had confined himself to limited-overs cricket since playing the Lord’s Test against Australia in July 2010, smashed 58 off 40 deliveries with five fours and a six while opening the innings as Habib Bank closed at 106-3 after bundling out State Bank for 120 at the Marghazar Cricket Stadium in Islamabad.

After being asked to bat by Imran Farhat, State Bank lost the first five wickets for just 23 runs before Mohtashim Ali (46 not out off 75 balls, five boundaries) lifted them to 120 all out. Umar Gul (3-54) and Fahad Masood (4-17 in 12 overs) caused most of the damage while Afridi bagged one wicket for 13 runs in four overs.

A captain’s knock of 105 (126 balls, nine fours and six sixes) from Fahim Ashraf helped Faisalabad Wolves make 232 before Abbottabad Falcons reached 10-0 at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium.

Pakistan Television (PTV) rallied through a 113-run stand between Nawaz Ahmed (81) and Zeeshan Mushtaq (73) to collect 242-7 against KRL at the latter’s home ground in Rawalpindi.

Karachi Zebras were reeling at 47-4 after Hyderabad Hawks posted 260 here at the UBL Sports Complex. Faisal Athar (80) and Zeeshan Gul (68) added 150 for the fourth wicket after the visitors lost three early wickets.

Lahore Eagles struggled to 227-9 against Quetta Bears at the LCCA Ground in Lahore.

Bahawalpur Stags skipper Imranullah Aslam (5-37 and unbeaten 53) put his team on top against Sialkot Stallions at the Jinnah Stadium. The Stallions were bowled out for 185 before the Stags reached 116-1.

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