National Twenty20 Cup: Rams crush Lions to qualify for final

FAISALABAD: Rawalpindi Rams brushed aside Lahore Lions by 47 runs in the first semi-final of the Faysal Bank National Twenty20 Cup at Iqbal Stadium here Thursday. Opting to bat after winning the toss, Rams piled up a formidable total of 186 for the loss 4 scalps in their allotted 20 overs. The highlights of the Rams innings were dazzling half centuries by Jamal Anwar and Sohail Tanvir. Rams were in dire straits after losing 3 wickets at 66 in the eighth over, but the duo steered them to an imposing total with a 111-run fourth-wicket partnership. In reply, Lions were behind in the chase from the outset, losing wickets regularly to be 96 for 9, before a late blitz from Adnan Rasool carried them to 139. Opening bowler Mohammad Hameez and left arm-spinner Raza Hasan were the pick of the Rams bowlers, picking up two wickets apiece in tight spells.Lions down Hawks: On Wednesday night, Lions surged to their third win in three games, defeating Hyderabad Hawks by 8 runs. Ahmed Shehzad blazed away to 78 off 49 balls after Lahore chose to bat, but the rest of the line-up failed to build on his efforts. No other batsman managed to reach 20 as spinners Nasir Awais and Zahid Mahmood stalled the progress with combined figures of 6 for 54 in eight overs. Lions posted 160 at the end of their 20 overs. In reply, Hawks had to score 161 in 17.3 overs to progress to semifinal but failed in their efforts. After Sharjeel Khan’s early dismissal, Hawks were in trouble. But Aqeel Anjum launched a spirited sortie to redress the balance. His 40 off 16 balls gave Hawks a realistic chance of winning the run-rate battle, but Azeem Ghumman and Faisal Athar got stuck in the middle overs. Bowlers Aizaz Cheema and Adnan Rasool piled on the pressure as the asking-rate mounted, and Hawks lost the match.