RAWALPINDI - Younus Khan led from the front as Abbottabad Falcons brushed aside Karachi Zebras by six wickets to enter semifinals of the Faysal Bank T20 Tournament for Regions here at Pindi Cricket Stadium Friday.
Younus remained unbeaten at 55 off 35 balls hitting six fours and one six. Hammad Ali Shah made 25-ball 20, Riaz Kail 19 and Yasir Hameed 15 were the other notable scorers as Abbottabad managed to reach the target of 133 losing six wickets in 19.1 overs. Tariq Haroon took 3 for 14, Akber Rehman 2 for 21 and Haris Ayaz 1 for 25. Earlier, Karachi Zebras skipper Faisal Iqbal won the toss and opted to bat first. Their innings got off to worst possible start as inform batsman Fakhar Zaman was needlessly run out in the second over of the match trying to sneak a very risky single. Karachi Zebras were restricted to 129 for the loss of 6 wickets in their quota of overs. Hasan made solid 47 off 53 deliveries while Faisal posted 43 off 34 hitting three fours and two sixes. His one sixer went out of the stadium, the longest of the event so far. Junaid remained most successful Falcons bowler with 3 for 17 while Khaild Usman and Ahmed Jamal also shared a wicket apiece conceding 19 and 28 runs, respectively.
His departure spelled disaster for Zebras, who despite two good knocks from Hasan Raza and skipper Faisal, never looked like posting a decent target on the board. Just when things started to tilt a bit in Zebras favour, both set batsmen Hasan and Faisal were sent back to the pavilion in two consecutive deliveries of speedster Junaid Khan's spells 3rd and overall 18th over of the innings. Younus was named man of the match for his match-winning performance.
Earlier, mighty Faisalabad Wolves hammered debutants Larkana Bulls by 33 runs in a low scoring quarterfinal. Larkana skipper won the toss and decided to field first in overcast conditions. His move immediately paid dividend as Faisalabad lost their opener Farrukh Shahzad on the very first delivery. There was panic all around Faisalabad batting as they gifted four wickets through run outs. Inexperience cost Larkana as they could restrict Wolves to below 100 runs as three drop catches and ordinary fielding let Wolves off the hook and they posted a fighting 121 runs all out in 20 overs.
Khurrum Shahzad top scored with 38 off 43 deliveries hitting 4 boundaries. Imran Khalid 18, Misbah 16, Salman 15 were the other notable contributors. M Siddique was the pick of the Bulls bowlers grabbing 3 for 25 while Imtiaz also chipped in with 2 for 24. Larkana run-chase got off to a sensational start as wicketkeeper put down a simple catch of opener Ehsan Ali on the very first delivery of fast bowler M Talha. Inexperienced Larkana kept losing wickets at regular intervals and the entire team were bowled out for 88 in 18.5 overs.
Saeed Ajmal's "Doosra" was almost unplayable as the spin wizard ripped through Bulls batting grabbing 4 for 14 in 3.1 overs. Asad Ali bowled 3 overs and took 2 for 3 runs while Ehsan Adil also chipped in with 2 for 16 and M Talha 1 for 24. Asad Ali was named man of the match for his superb bowling performance.