Sunday, October 5, 2008

Domestic Cricket in Pakistan is Back!

Pakistan's new domestic season (2008-09) kicked off last night with the opening matches of the RBS National 20-20 Championship.

5 matches were played on the opening day around Lahore including 2 Group A matches and a match each from Group B, C, and D.

The day began with Misbah's Faisalabad Wolves taking on the inexperienced Abbotabad Rhinos.

Despite chasing only 148, the Rhinos fell short by 20 runs as Mohammad Talha, the U19 pacer, and Samiullah Khan Niazi picked up 5 wickets between them.

The Wolves posted a total of 148-6 on the back of opener Mohammad Hafeez's 53 ball 62 that included a six and 4 boundaries. Hafeez was well supported by Misbah who scored a 25 ball 30, but the Wolves fell short of a higher total as the Rhinos' spinners Yasir Shah and Khalid Usman kept the batsmen quiet.

In the 2nd game Shahid Afridi's Karachi Dolphins showed why they are one of the favorites to win the title as they beat the Lahore Eagles by 25 runs.

Batting first the Dolphins posted 184-7 in their 20 overs. The Dolphins' charge was led by Fawad Alam (55 off 42), who continued his good run of form following his Academy heroics on the tour of Africa.

Khurram Manzoor (16 off 12), Khalid Latid (14 off 10), Naumanullah (41 off 25), Afridi (23 off 17), and Anwar Ali (11 off 4) all contributed to the Dolphins' match winning total.

The Eagles could manage only 159-9 in response as Anwar Ali, who like Fawad had an outstanding Academy tour, ripped through their batting line up with 3-8 off 3 overs.

Afridi (2-18) and Sohail Khan (2-26) were the other key wicket takers for the Dolphins.

The Lahore Lions, who like the Dolphins are one of the favorites, beat the Quetta Bears by 2 runs, in what was a thrilling match.

Batting first, the Lions posted 187-4 as Pakistan opener Salman Butt showed fine form scoring an unbeaten 99 off only 67 balls with 10 boundaries and 3 sixes. Butt was unlucky to miss out on a ton as the Lions innings came to a close.

Earlier Butt had been involved in a 77 run opening partnership with Nasir Jamshed (22) that had laid the foundation for the Lions' high total.

Mohammad Yousuf, the Lions' captain, failed to impress as he scored only 5 before holing out to off-spinner Naseer Khan.

The Bears began their reply in emphatic fashion as Shoaib Khan smashed a 54 ball 85 at the top of the innings. Shoaib was well supported by the other inexperienced batsmen but he fell in the last over of the innings as the Bears fell short by only 2 runs.

Defending champions Sialkot Stallions easily beat the Karachi Zebras by 32 runs.

The Stallions had fallen to 39-3, before they were rescued by Qaiser Abbas (49) and Shoaib Malik (39) who shared a 73 run partnership for the 4th wicket to lead them to 179-9 off their 20 overs.

In response the Zebras could manage only 147. Left armer Sarfraz Ahmed was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-16.

The last match of the night between the Peshawar Panthers and Islamabad Leopards marked the return of Shoaib Akhtar to domestic cricket in Pakistan.

All the talk about non payment of fine, fitness problems, etc were put to rest when Shoaib was at the start of his run up to bowl the first over of the match. He managed a wicket of the last delivery of his 1st over but failed to impress overall with figures of 1-30 off 4 overs.

Younis Khan top scored for the Panthers with a 26-ball unbeaten 45 to lead them to a match winning total of 175-7. The Leaopards lost by 14 runs ending their innings on 161-9.

Another 5 matches will be played today around Lahore and everyone's eyes will be on the potential cracker - Misbah's Faisalabad Wolves taking on Afridi's Karachi Dolphins.

Stay tuned to Well Pitched for updates.

Make your pitch on this post...



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4 Pitched:

  1. khansahab said...
     

    Q

    I was just about to suggest to you to cover the RBS Cup but I am glad you are doing it.

  2. khansahab said...
     

    The stars of this Championship will be youngsters like Fawad, Anwar Ali and Mohammad Talha. Talha was unheard of before the Academy tour but he performed very well.

    Yasir Arafat has improved his bowling manifold and deserves a place in the T20 and ODI teams. Arafat should be used to keep Tanvir on his feet.

    Of course the strongest teams are Lahore Lions, Sialkot, Karachi Dolphins and Faisalabad. But this time round Peshawar has a strong team too.

  3. khansahab said...
     

    Multan have beaten Peshawar- the Panthers were dismissed for only 103!

    Meanwhile Karachi Zabras lost against Hyderabad Hawks. There is not much of a difference between Karachi Zebras, Lahore Eagles and the other small city teams. The real competition will come from teams like Dolphins, Lions, Wolves and Stallions.

    For those who don't know, both Karachi and Lahore have one strong team which has many international players. For eg Lahore Lions has Mohammad Yousuf, Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal whereas Dolphins have Afridi, Fawad Alam and Anwar Ali.
    Both cities also have one relatively weaker team- Karachi Zebras and Lahore Eagles.

    In Pakistani T20 cricket Sialkot and Karachi have been the strongest teams so far.

  4. Q said...
     

    Khansahab, In the link I gave in my post - I have discussed the teams in detail.

    Peshawar has always been a strong team with Younis Khan, Yasir Hameed, Wasti, Rafatullah, Jannisar Khan, Umar Gul, Fazle-Akbar and other strong players but they have never done well in domestic cricket. Dont know why.

    I think the Dolphins and Lions will be ones to watch out for thi year.

    Wolves and Stallions are missing a lot of players cos of the ICL... they r not as strong as they used to be.

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