LAHORE   -  Both teams of Lahore Region – Whites and Blues – were beaten by twin cities teams Rawalpindi and Islamabad in the National Twenty20 Cricket Cup 2018-19 at Multan Stadium on Friday.

In the first match of the day, Hammad Azam’s heroics helped Rawalpindi Region rout Lahore Region Whites by 6 wickets. Rawalpindi won the toss and opted to field first. Lahore Whites couldn’t resist outstanding bowling by Pindi bowlers and were restricted to 105-8 in fixed 15 overs. Salman Butt led the Lahore Whites team in place of Kamran Akmal, who left the match to attend his mother’s funeral in Lahore.

Butt was the highest scorer from Lahore Whites who could score 25 runs while pacer Wahab Riaz contributed significant unbeaten 23 runs. Zahid Mansoor, Khalid Usman from Rawalpindi captured two wickets each while Abdul Rehman, Hammad Azam and Sadaf Hussain got one wicket apiece.

Rawalpindi replied strongly and achieved the required target for loss of just four wickets in 14.4 overs. Hammad Azam emerged as top scorer by scoring impressive 30 runs while Umar Amin made unbeaten 28. Bilal Asif from Lahore Whites bagged two wickets. Hammad Azam was declared man of the match for his convincing all-round performance.

Lahore tasted another defeat of the day when their second side Lahore Blues lost second match of the day against Islamabad Region by 24 runs. Clinical all-round performance of international cricketer Imad Wasim played key role in Islamabad convincing triumph as he not only hammered 64 runs but also clinched two important wickets of Lahore Blues.

Islamabad Region won the toss and elected to bat first. They posted 159 runs on the board for the loss of 7 wickets in 20 overs. Imad Wasim was top scorer for the winning side as he gathered 64 off just 42 balls with the help of five fours and two towering sixes while he was ably assisted by Ali Sarfraz who slammed 36-ball 45 studded with 5 boundaries and one six. Aizaz Cheema (2-24), Qaiser Ashraf (2-30), Saad Nasim (1-14) and Ehsan Adil (1-25) bowled well for Lahore Blues.

Chasing the decent target of 160 runs, Lahore Blues were all out for 135 runs in 19.5 overs. Only Rizwan Hussain played the swashbuckling knock of 72 runs off 54 balls wrapped with four boundaries and 5 smashing sixes as no other batsman of Blues could bat with responsibility and lost their wickets cheaply. Saad Nasim was other batsman of Blues, who crossed double figures by scoring 18 runs.

International fast bowler Umer Gul was main wrecker-in-chief of Lahore Blues batting line up as he grabbed 3 wickets for 22 while international stars Sohail Khan and Imad Wasim claimed two wickets each conceding 18 and 25 runs respectively while Arsal Sheikh got 1 wicket for 30 and Junaid Khan 1 wicket for 35.

SCORES IN BRIEF:

FIRST MATCH

LAHORE REGION WHITES: 105-8 in 15 overs (Salman Butt25, 22 balls, 2x4s, Wahab Riaz 23*, 18 balls, 1x4, 1x6, Ali Khan 20, 16 balls, 2x4s, Zahid Mansoor 2-11, Khalid Usman 2-22, Abdul Rehman 1-17, Hammad Azam 1-8, Sadaf Hussain 1-21)

RAWALPINDI REGION: 106-4 in 14.4 overs (Hammad Azam 30*, 20 balls, 4x4s, Umer Amin 28*, 26 balls, 1x4, 1x6Nasir Nawaz 22, 20 balls, 1x4, Bilal Asif 2-17, Hasan Khan 1-21, Amad Butt 1-21)

SECOND MATCH

ISLAMABAD REGION: 159-7 in 20 overs (Imad Wasim 64 , 42 balls, 5x4s, 2x6s, Ali Sarfraz 45, 36 balls, 5x4s, 1x6, Aizaz Cheema 2-24 Qaiser Ashraf 2-30, Saad Nasim1-14, Ehsan Adil 1-25)

LAHORE REGION BLUES: 135 all out in 19.5 overs (Rizwan Hussain 72, 54 balls, 4x4s, 5x6s, Saad Nasim 18, 15 balls, 2x4s, Umer Gul 3-22, Sohail Khan 2-18, Imad Wasim 2-25, Arsal Sheikh 1-30, Junaid Khan 1-35).