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Shoaib Malik leads Sialkot Stallions to victory

FAISALABAD - May 11, 2015: Sialkot Stallions raced to a superb victory against Peshawar Panthers in the second match of the Cool & Cool Presents Haier Super8 T20 Cup, being played here at Iqbal Stadium Faisalabad on Monday.

Stallions achieved the score of 166 runs made by Panthers by scoring 169 runs in 18.1 overs losing three wickets. Panthers took 20 overs and lost six wickets to set the target for Stallions, who overhauled the score with 11 balls and seven wickets to spare.

Former captain Shoaib Malik and Nauman Anwar snatched a big win in this Group A match of the cup, also seen as a source of recall for the former skipper in the national team for the coming Zimbabwe series, to be played later in May.

Malik and Nauman were a class apart in this match scoring 141 runs for the second wicket partnership that lasted till the 16th over. Malik in his awesome innings made 95 not out runs while his partner Numan smacked 65 runs. Malik smashed nine sixes and four fours in his whirlwind innings off 49 balls and stood at the crease like a wall to steer Stallions to a swashbuckling win.

Numan, after laying a solid foundation in his team’s win paved the way for Ayaz Tasawwar. Nauman in his 45-balls and about 50 minutes stay at the crease, timed seven boundaries and hit the ball three times over the ropes. He produced an innings that his captain required of him but he failed to give the finishing touches to what he started with his opening partner Mukhtar Ahmed, who was the first to go back to the pavilion, putting his team is dire strait. It was then Numan and Malik who developed a winning partnership.

Tasawwar followed Nauman, bowled by Imran Khan for one, when the Stallions were just three runs away from a win. Zeeshan Mushtaq came in to join Malik, who finished the match with a six and rejoiced his return with the Stallions as skipper whereas before the tournament started there were reports he won’t play for them and would represent Lahore. Imran Khan took two wickets including the one of Nauman while Azam Khan had one and both the bowlers gave away 18 runs each in their teams loss.

Earlier, banking on the opening wicket stand of 88 runs developed by Rafatullah Mohamand 46 and Israrullah 59, Panthers gave their rivals Stallions a daunting task to achieve. Winning the toss brought wonders for them as their batsmen kept developing short partnerships. After Rafat and Israr’s stand, the second wicket produced 30 runs. In this partnership Israr was joined in by M Rizwan. It was Test cricketer and former captain Shoaib Malik, who while leading the Stallions broke the opening partnership of Panthers when he bowled Rafat. But Israr went on to make his half century. His 59 runs came off 45 balls studded with five boundaries and three sixes. As for his opening partner, Rafat, he took 33 balls to reach 46 and in that hit six fours and a six.

Later Rizwan came up with nine runs while Adil Amin, Zohaib Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed contributed useful 10, 13 and 18 runs respectively.

As Stallions strike bowler Najaf Shah remained wicketless, Umaid Asif had two while Malik, Sultan Ahmed and Usama Mir shared one wicket each. Mir, however, was the most economical bowler of all as he gave 26 runs in four overs as compared to 41 runs conceded by Najaf in his four overs.