Maqsood, Ajmal help Faisalabad maintain perfect start

Sohaib Maqsood plays a pull © AFP

Sohaib Maqsood smashed an unbeaten 42-ball 80 to hand Faisalabad a seven-wicket win against Lahore Blues in Rawalpindi. The Blues posted an impressive 187 for 5, courtesy Imam-ul-Haq‘s 31-ball 50 and useful knocks from Babar Azam (45) and Hussain Talat (26-ball 43), but Faisalabad’s top order responded with as much aggression to comfortably chase down the target. The win was Faisalabad’s second in as many matches.

Faisalabad captain Saeed Ajmal struck early to dismiss Ahmed Shehzad for 12 after electing to bowl first. Babar then joined Imam to add 70 for the second-wicket, off just 48 balls, to set the platform for a big finish. Imam, who scored 44 in the first match, hit six fours and a six, but was out soon after reaching his fifty.

Mohammad Hafeez, too, fell soon after, as he was run out for 18. Those two wickets in the middle overs coupled with Babar’s strike-rate of 121.62 slowed Blues down. It needed a late blitz from Talat – who hit five fours and two sixes – to ensure they finished on 187. Taj Wali conceded only 23 runs in his four overs while Ajmal finished with 3 for 26.

Chasing 188, Faisalabad opener Gauhar Ali was out lbw in the second over, but Sahibzada Farhan and Maqsood added 90 for the second wicket to put their team ahead once. The Blues had an opening when Farhan was stumped for 58 in the 13th over, but Asif Ali then smashed 42 off just 17 balls to take the game beyond them. Asif hit five fours and three sixes, but could not see the game off, out with Faisalabad needing just two for victory. Maqsood eventually finished the game with a six to complete the win with 11 balls to spare.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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