LAHORE: Gujranwala Giants maintained their chances of earning a playoff spot in the Pakistan Junior League (PJL) by securing their maiden win of the competition against Rawalpindi Raiders on Friday.
The Giants opted to bowl first, restricting the Raiders to 128 runs before chasing down the target in 18.1 overs, thanks to a sensational bowling and batting performance.
The Giants’ batting effort was led by Shevon Daniel and captain Uzair Mumtaz as they chased down 129 runs after Hamza Nawaz, their opener, was run out on the second ball of the innings, which put them in a vulnerable position early on. Azan Awais, the third batter, was out by a lbw call. As a result of the early shocks, Giants were struggling at eight for two in 2.1 overs.
Uzair was joined by Daniels, a talented Sri Lankan batsman who had hit 81 runs in the Giants’ last over loss to the Bahawalpur Royals. As the asking rate increased, the two quickly corrected the harm by taking a cautious approach.
The Giants regained control of their low chase as Daniels in particular playing a series of delightful shots. Daniels reached his second fifty of the tournament in 40 balls. Uzair was dropped in the deep when on 47 (14th over), while Daniels departed in the next over with Afnan having him caught at long-off.
The left-hander scored 50 off 41 balls (three fours, two sixes). Uzair and Daniels added 98 runs for the third-wicket partnership. Uzair completed his second 50 of the tournament off 36 balls. Giants then lost two wickets in three balls to Ali Raza as Mohammad Waqas and Hasnain Majid perished attempting needless big shots. There was more panic to follow in the Giants’ dugout, Matthew Tromp was run out while attempting a second run. His departure left the Giants needing 11 off 19 balls.
Tom Aspinwall finished the game in the company of his captain to settle the nerves in the Giants’ dugout. The chase was completed with 11 balls left unused, Uzair remained unbeaten on 56 off 42 balls (three fours, two sixes). Ali Raza took two wickets for the Raiders.
Earlier, Raiders were asked to bat first by the Giants. After a 34-run start opener Hassan Eisakhil was dismissed for 22 in the 5th over. Aseer Mughal (9) followed Hassan to the dugout with the score at 46 in the seventh over.
Skipper Habibullah led from the front for his team with a steady half-century. The right-hander played some enterprising shots in his 55 off 53 balls (five fours, two sixes).
Habibullah added 65 runs for the third-wicket with Ali Ishaq, Ali scored 26 (24 balls) and was the fourth batter dismissed. Charlie Tear (0) was run out on the first ball he faced, Raiders landed in further trouble when Afnan Khan was caught in the deep off Matthew Tromp.
Tromp made another breakthrough in the same over as Zia also holed out trying to clear the ropes. Ziaullah’s wicket left Raiders reeling at 123 for seven in the 19th over. Tromp provided his side the third wicket of his over when he clean bowled Amir Hassan – Tromp conceded a mere five runs in the over to finish with impressive figures of 4-0-19-3.
Pacer Mohammad Ibtisam finished the innings off in style as he removed Kai Smith and Ali Raza for ducks to finish with figures of 3.3-0-23-3. Ali Asfand took two wickets for 23 runs.
Raiders endured a major collapse as they lost their last eight wickets for the addition of 17 runs, from 111 for two they crashed to 128 all out in a space of 19 deliveries.