FAISALABAD - May 17, 2015: Sialkot Stallions were the first to move into the final of the Cool & Cool Presents Haier Super8 T20 Cup 2015 here at the Iqbal Stadium on Sunday.
Stallions outscored Karachi Dolphins to grab a comprehensive 65 runs win in the first semi-final of the event to have a shot at the title. Nauman Anwar put Dolphins attack to the sword to be the star of the match for Stallions by scoring 43-ball 80 runs while their bowlers especially Usama Mir and Bilal Asif played their part with the ball.
Nauman’s innings was studded by nine boundaries and five sixes that took Stallions total to 167 for all in 19.4 overs. Later, Usama and Bilal kept Dolphins starved for runs and with the support of other bowlers in the attack bowled the whole Dolphins team out for 102 runs, with three overs to spare.
As the match progressed, Stallions were four for 137 in 14 overs but the last six overs saw six of their wickets fall for 30 runs. Their first wicket of opener Mukhtar Ahmed fell at 75 runs when he started to get the flow in his batting. But at his personal score of 25, Faraz Ahmed clean bowled him. Nauman on the other end kept producing runs and developed another 31 runs partnership with Bilal Asif, who also made 25 runs. Nauman was also the victim of Faraz but not before hitting all the bowlers used by Dolphins to all corners of the ground. Bilal, however kept the scoreboard ticking with his singles and doubles and in between hit two sixes and two fours in 13 balls.
Bilal found a suitable partner in Shoaib Malik and everyone was expecting a whirlwind batting from both, if not from at least Malik. But Bilal after an attempt for a big hit, miscued Faraz’s delivery and Fazal Subhan did the rest. That ignited Stallions collapse and the remaining batsmen developed just 13 runs while Malik tried his best to beam the total and fell to Fawad Khan for 22 runs. Three of the new arrivals at the crease had a duck while two were bowled at one runs each, Ali Khan made seven runs and Ahmed Butt just four.
As Faraz had the control of the upper order with three wickets, Abdul Ameer checked the middle order by taking the same number of wickets. Fawad’s two wickets included one of the most important scalp of Malik while Mohammad Sami had one.
Assessing the need of hour after having 167 runs to defend, Stallions showed determination both with the ball and in their fielding. The passion packed Stallions kept taking Dolphins wickets with regular intervals. As their first wicket fell at four, they kept losing their batsmen one after the other after an addition of about 10 to 20 runs.
Shahzaib Hasan, Rameez Raja II and Mohammad Waqas were their only batsmen who could score runs but failed to produce big innings. They made 20, 24 and 29 runs respectively while seven of their batsmen together score just 26 runs. It was not that they were not good players but it was the Stallions attack which kept them silent. Usama and Bilal were the key elements in Stallions attack. They shared three wickets each while Ali Khan got two. Sultan Ahmed and Bilawal Bhatti shared one wicket each. Though it was not Malik’s day as a batsman or a bowler but as a captain, he led the team from the front as Stallions reached the finals.