- File Photo

Karachi Dolphins’ top order fired with all guns blazing to lay foundation of a clinical 103-run rout of Lahore Eagles in the opening round of the Faysal Bank National One-day Cup on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Karachi Zebras — inspired by young opener Fakhar Zaman’s brilliant maiden limited-overs century — also got to an excellent start when they outclassed Lahore Lions by 92 runs, while in the battle of twin cities Rawalpindi Rams rammed home their advantage by defeating Islamabad Leopards quite comfortably by 66 runs. Multan Tigers were too strong for Bahawalpur Stags in their seven-wicket triumph; Hyderabad Hawks found Quetta Bears easy prey as they became the day’s biggest winners by a margin of 150 runs. Abbottabad Falcons, in contrast, defeated Peshawar Panthers by 45 runs.

After being sent into bat by Eagles skipper Adnan Akmal in the Group ‘A’ game at the Niaz Stadium in Hyderabad, the Dolphins amassed 309-3 in their stipulated 50 overs. Openers Shahzaib Hasan (63 off 86 balls, four boundaries) and Khalid Latif (64 off 84, six fours) shared a partnership of 122 before Sarfraz Ahmed and Saeed bin Nasir further demoralised the Eagles as they put on 144 for the third wicket.

Sarfraz, the Test wicket-keeper, hit five boundaries in scoring 76 off 72 balls. Saeed hammered an unbeaten 74 from 63 deliveries with the help of seven fours and one six.

The Eagles’ response was pathetic as they lost three wickets for runs after putting 10 on the board and were soon reeling at 28-5 with Dolphins captain Mohammad Sami, the discarded Pakistan paceman, taking three for 15 in seven overs.

Jahangir Mirza then led a belated fightback with 83 off 122 balls (eight fours) while sharing two partnerships of some substance — 75 for the eight wicket with Adnan Rasool (36) and 55 for the ninth with Mohammad Irshad (32 not out).

Azeem Ghumman and Rizwan Ahmed hit contrasting centuries as the Hawks reached 260-2 after opting to bat first in the first official cricket fixture at the Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto International Stadium in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh.

Azeem scored a circumspect 100 off 156 balls (six fours) as he helped Sharjeel Khan (49) add 103 for the opening wicket and then 144 for the second wicket with Rizwan who blasted an 88-ball unbeaten 101 with nine boundaries and three sixes.

The Bears had no answer to the guiles of slow left-armer Kashif Bhatti (5-30 in 7.5 overs) as they subsided to 110 all out in the 34th over.The Tigers dismissed the Stags for 264 in 49.2 overs after Kamran Hussain chose bat first at the Multan Cricket Stadium in Multan. Bilal Khilji (79 off 97 balls, eight fours) and Kamran (58) were the main run-getters before fell to off-spinner Aamir Yamin, who claimed a career-best 5-65 in 9.2 overs.

Opener Zeeshan Ashraf (71 off 53 balls with 13 boundaries), Sohaib Maqsood (82 off 96, seven fours and two sixes) and Rameez Alam (an undefeated 72 off 86 balls, six fours) then guided the Tigers home in the 45th over.

Having been put into bat by Lions captain Azhar Ali in the Group ‘B’ tie at the Mirpur Cricket Stadium in Mirpur, the Zebras rode on Fakhar’s belligerent 141 to pile 314-6 on the board. The 22-year-old left-hander’s 118-ball innings contained 15 boundaries and a brace of sixes on only his third one-day appearance.

Fakhar and skipper Faisal Iqbal (78 not out off 93 balls, four fours and two sixes) were involved in a third-wicket stand of 158. Discarded Test seamer Aizaz Cheema, who got rid of Fakhar, finished with 2-63 in 10 overs while all-rounder Raza Ali Dar took three for 63, also from 10 overs.

The Lions, in response, managed only 222 all out in 44.3 overs. Azhar, the Test batsman, made 56 off 71 balls (three fours and two sixes). Left-arm paceman Rumman Raees Khan (3-21 in 8.3 overs) and off-spinner Misbah Khan (3-46 in 10 overs) shared the bowling honours.

The Rams had the distinction of piling up the highest total of the first round as they plundered the Leopards bowling to the tune of 338-7 after skipper Babar Naeem chose to bat first at the Diamond Club Ground in the federal capital.

Opener Awais Zia led the onslaught with his first three-figure knock in limited-overs as he struck 18 fours and one six in scoring 118 off 100 deliveries.

All-rounder Yasim Murtaza, who had contributed 54 off 48 balls, four fours and two sixes, wrapped up the match with three for 49 in 10 overs as the Leopards were restricted to 272-9 despite a fine hundred from Babar Azam (101 off 114 balls, seven boundaries).

Skipper Khalid Usman made telling contributions — a career-best 80 off 94 balls, four fours and two sixes before snaring 3-31 in eight overs — to star in the Falcons’ success over the Panthers at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi.

Results: Group ‘A’: At Niaz Stadium, Hyderabad: Karachi Dolphins beat Lahore Eagles by 103 runs. KARACHI DOLPHINS 309-3 in 50 overs (Sarfraz Ahmed 76, Saeed bin Nasir 74 not out, Khalid Latif 64, Shahzaib Hasan 63; Hafiz Suleman 2-59); LAHORE EAGLES 206-9 in 50 overs (Jahangir Mirza 83, Adnan Rasool 36, Mohammad Irshad 32 not out; Mohammad Sami 3-15, Babar Rehman 2-40). At Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto International Stadium, Garhi Khuda Bakhsh: Hyderabad Hawks beat Quetta Bears by 150 runs. HYDERABAD HAWKS 260-2 in 50 overs (Azeem Ghumman 100, Rizwan Ahmed 101 not out, Sharjeel Khan 49); QUETTA BEARS 110 in 33.5 overs (Taimur Ali 36, Nasir Ali 21, Najeebullah 20; Kashif Bhatti 5-30, Ghulam Yasin 2-21, Zahid Mahmood 2-22). At Multan Cricket Stadium, Multan: Multan Tigers beat Bahawalpur Stags by seven wickets. BAHAWALPUR STAGS 264 in 49.2 overs (Bilal Khilji 79, Kamran Hussain 58, Waqas Khan 37 not out, Rehan Rafiq 24, Faisal Mubashir 23; Aamir Yamin 5-65, Rizwan Haider 2-42); MULTAN TIGERS 266-3 in 44.4 overs (Sohaib Maqsood 82, Rameez Alam 72 not out, Zeeshan Ashraf 71, Saeed Anwar Jr 29 not out). Group ‘B’: At Diamond Club Ground, Islamabad: Rawalpindi Rams beat Islamabad Leopards by 66 runs. RAWALPINDI RAMS 338-7 in 50 overs (Awais Zia 119, Yasim Murtaza 54 not out, Umar Waheed 32, Babar Naeem 24, Mohammad Nawaz 21; Imad Wasim 2-68); ISLAMABAD LEOPARDS 272-9 in 50 overs (Babar Azam 101, Fahad Iqbal 46, Raheel Majeed 34, Shan Masood 25, Asadullah Sumeri 24; Yasim Murtaza 3-49, Hammad Azam 2-34, Akhtar Ayub 2-51). At Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi: Abbottabad Falcons beat Peshawar Panthers by 45 runs. ABBOTTABAD FALCONS 219-9 in 50 overs (Khalid Usman 80, Kamran Ghulam 27, Mir Azam 27, Rameez Ahmed 24; Zohaib Khan 4-21); PESHAWAR PANTHERS 174 in 44.1 overs (Akbar Badshah 35, Nawaz Ahmed 30; Khalid Usman 3-31, Ahmed Jamal 2-27, Kamran Ghulam 2-44). At Mirpur Cricket Stadium, Mirpur: Karachi Zebras beat Lahore Lions by 92 runs. KARACHI ZEBRAS 314-6 in 50 overs (Fakhar Zaman 141, Faisal Iqbal 78 not out, Javed Mansoor 21 not out; Raza Ali Dar 3-63, Aizaz Cheema 2-63); LAHORE LIONS 222 in 44.3 overs (Azhar Ali 56, Fahad-ul-Haq 40, Usman Salahuddin 34, Umar Siddique 22, Asif Raza 22, Raza Ali Dar 20; Rumman Raees Khan 3-21, Misbah Khan 3-46). Thursday’s fixtures: Lahore Eagles v Sialkot Stallions (National Stadium, Karachi); Quetta Bears v Multan Tigers (Niaz Stadium, Hyderabad); Hyderabad Hawks v Karachi Dolphins (Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto International Stadium, Garhi Khuda Bakhsh); Rawalpindi Rams v Lahore Lions (Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi); Faisalabad Wolves v Peshawar Panthers (Diamond Club Ground, Islamabad); Islamabad Leopards v Karachi Zebras (Mirpur Cricket Stadium, Mirpur).


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