Leopards outplay Rhinos in T20 clash

KARACHI: Islamabad Leopards opened their tournament campaign with a facile nine-wicket win over Abbottabad Rhinos at the National Stadium.

Abbottabad, after opting to bat, were rocked early in the piece by Islamabad''s new-ball pair of Iftikhar Anjum and Azhar Mahmood, who quickly had them at 20 for 4.

Mahmood was destructive in his spell, taking three wickets, and it needed a circumspect 53-ball 54 from the opener Yasir Hameed to lend respectability to Abbottabad''s total.

His dismissal to Iftikhar in the 17th over was followed by Mohammad Kashif''s 34 as Abbottabad made it to 117 from 20 overs.

Islamabad''s openers, Raheel Majeed and Umair Khan, went about the chase steadily. Majeed led the scoring initially without accelerating, and none of the bowlers rotated were able to make an impact.

After playing second fiddle to Majeed for seven overs, hardly getting strike, Khan opened up with a four and six to jack up the run rate. The pair raised the fifty stand at a good clip and after ten overs Islamabad were well set on 70.

That''s when Mohammad Sami dismissed Majeed for 35 in the same over that he was struck for six, but Mohammad Yousuf''s first-ball four maintained the tone the openers had set.

Yousuf''s breezy unbeaten 27 from 22 balls helped finish the affair in the 17th over. Khan hit the winning runs and finished on 40 from 35 balls. Abbottabad have failed to win either of their two games so far.