LAHORE: In a highly exciting Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) National Twenty20 Cup Cricket Championship 2008-09 final, Sialkot Stallions made it a hat-trick of titles as they defeated Karachi Dolphins in a replay of the 2006-07 decider here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday.
After their semifinal victory on Tuesday, Karachi Dolphins had emerged as the favourites to win the final. However, they eventually ended up as the runners-up for the second season running.
Karachi won the toss and opted to bat first. In the allotted 20 overs, they reached a rather modest 125 runs and lost nine wickets. The match went to the wire. Sialkot won by seven wickets with just two balls to spare.
After opener Kamran Younis had contributed a run-a-ball 37 with three fours and a six and Mansoor Ajmad hammered 39 off 35 balls with four fours before being retired hurt, brothers Shoaib Malik and Adeel Malik shared an exhilarating unbroken fourth-wicket stand to take Sialkot through.
Adeel, three years younger than Shoaib, smacked an unbeaten 23 off a mere 11 deliveries with one four and two sixes. Shoaib made 19 not out off 23 balls without hitting any boundaries.
There were two run outs in the Stallions innings and only Dolphins skipper Shahid Afridi took a bowling wicket.
Earlier, the young left-hander Fawad Alam was the lone star for Karachi with a knock of 40 off 31 balls with three fours. Several others got good starts but failed to capitalise on them.
Left-arm pacer Sarfraz Ahmed and Shoaib Malik with his off-spin got among the wickets as usual.
Sialkot Stallions bagged the winners’ trophy and the whopping cash award of 2.5 million rupees, also winning the opportunity to play in the Champions League tournament to be held in India in December this year.
Karachi Dolphins took the runners-up position and one million rupees. Shoaib Malik was given a prize of Rs 50,000 for being the Man of the Match in the final.
Several other individual awards were given, but the major prizes of Rs 30,000 each went to the outstanding players of the tournament — best batsman Salman Butt (Lahore Lions), best bowler Sohail Khan (Karachi Dolphins), best wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed (Karachi Dolphins) and best fielder Nauman Ali (Hyderabad Hawks).