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Lahore Blues edge home in thrilling derby; Faisalabad overpower Karachi

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Lahore Blues edge home in thrilling derby; Faisalabad overpower Karachi

#NationalT20Cup #FSDvKHIW #QEA17 #PSLDraft #Cricket


KARACHI: Karachi Whites were off to a disappointing start when they were comprehensively beaten at the hands of former champions Faisalabad by eight wickets on the opening day of Cool and Cool National T20 Cup 2017-18 at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on Saturday.
Meanwhile in the other showdown, Lahore Blues recorded a sensational one-run victory over Lahore Whites to open their account with two points.
The match between Karachi Whites and Faisalabad turned out to be a one-sided affair.
Openers Sahibzada Farhan (76*) and wicket-keeper batsman Gohar Ali (70), both from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, shared 108 runs for the opening stand to enable Faisalabad chase the 181-run target with ten balls to spare after losing two wickets.
After losing Gohar, who struck ten fours and three sixes from only 35 balls, Charsadda-born Farhan then added 38 runs for the second wicket with Pakistan’s discarded hard-hitting batsman Sohaib Maqsood (21). Farhan then put on 37 for the third wicket unbroken stand with Asif Ali (16*) to see his side home safely.
Farhan smashed six fours and four sixes in his fantastic 52-ball knock which also earned him the man-of-the-match award.
Sohaib struck two sixes in his rapid 16-ball knock, while Asif hit two fours and a glorious six off left-arm pacer Rumman Raees (1-33) in his seven-ball knock. Danish Aziz (1-36) was the other wicket-taker for Karachi Whites.
Earlier, Karachi Whites were restricted to 180-5 in the allotted 20 overs. After inviting to bat first, Test opener Khurram Manzoor (55) and Asad Shafiq (27) provided a rapid 61-run opening stand off 39 balls.
After Shafiq’s fall, who hit five fours from 18 balls, Khurram added 59 for the second wicket with Akbar-ur-Rehman (59) before he fell after striking five fours from 48 deliveries.
Akbar, who hammered three sixes and four fours from only 39 balls, then added 58 for the third wicket with left-handed international Haris Sohail who struck 15-ball 28 with three fours and one six to take their team to a good total.
International all-rounder Faheem Ashraf was the pick of the bowlers with 3-36.
In the high-voltage game between Lahore Blues and Lahore Whites, the former narrowly succeeded after a thrilling finish.
Set to score 170, Lahore Whites were restricted to 168-5. In the last over from Hussain Talat Lahore Whites needed 12 and off the last ball only three were required but Aamer Yamin was only able to take a single to deprive his side of an expected win. Chasing a tricky target fast bowler Mohammad Amir (2-24) removed both the openers Kamran Akmal (0) and skipper Salman Butt (4) cheaply to put pressure on Lahore Whites.
Soon after left-arm young pacer Ghulam Mudassir (2-33) snared the key wicket of Umar Akmal (1) to leave Lahore Whites reeling at 23-3. However Test batsman Sami Aslam (91*) and Raza Ali Dar (40) shared 79 for the fourth wicket stand to keep their side alive.
Sami smashed ten fours and three sixes in his 60-ball fiery knock. Raza struck four fours and two sixes from 34 deliveries.
After being invited to bat Lahore Blues piled up 169-5 with opener Imam-ul-Haq (44) playing a nice knock, striking four fours and two sixes from 32 deliveries. Skipper Mohammad Hafeez (35) and Babar Azam (33) then put on 44 off 33 balls for the third wicket partnership to take their team to a relatively smart total.
Asif Ali, Ehsan Adil, Aamer Yamin and Bilal Asif got one wicket each. On Sunday (today), Peshawar face FATA, while Islamabad meet Rawalpindi. As many as eight outfits are contesting in the competitions which would last till November 26.
The National T20 Cup got off to a dramatic start in Rawalpindi, with Lahore Blues prevailing over their local rivals Lahore Whites by a solitary run. Batting first, the Blues' total of 169 was very much a team effort, with six of the seven batsmen who took the crease reaching double figures. Imam-ul-Haq top-scored for the Mohammad Hafeez-led Blues, with 44 off 32 balls.
In response, Lahore Whites were in trouble early, with Mohammad Amirdismissing both Kamran Akmal and - perhaps more satisfyingly - captain Salman Butt off in the first two overs to firmly put his side on the front foot. They would have expected to stroll to victory but for a sensational knock by Sami Aslam, who smashed an unbeaten 91 off 60 deliveries, but that just was not enough, just; Whites fell an agonising one run short in the season's opening game.
The other game was more straightforward, a 108-run opening stand between Faisalabad openers Sahibzada Farhan and Gauhar Ali helping their side chase down Karachi's total of 180 with a comfortable ten balls to spare.
Karachi got there thanks to a 39-ball 60 from Akbar-ur-Rehman, but lost momentum in the final over of the innings, in which Pakistan's recent hat-trick hero Faheem Ashraf took three wickets. It included the scalp of Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who fell for a golden duck off the last ball of the innings.
The opening partnership meant the chase was routine for Saeed Ajmal's men, with Anwar Ali and Mir Hamza coming in for particular punishment, conceding a combined 82 runs in 6.2 overs. That meant Faisalabad's victory was never in doubt, as they joined Lahore Blues as opening day winners of the 2017 National T20 Cup.

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