Hafeez inspires Wolves to T20 final

KARACHI: Muhammad Hafeez smashed a magnificent century to help Faisalabad Wolves defeat Lahore Lions by 45 runs in the first semifinal of the RBS Twenty20 Cup 2009-10 at the National Stadium here on Saturday.

Hafeez, who started Wolves’ innings with a four on the very first delivery of Aizaz Cheema, scored 100, the first century of the tournament, to enable Faisalabad Wolves post 211 for five, the highest total of the competition, so far. In reply, Lahore Lions were restricted to 166 for nine.

Earlier, Salman Butt won the toss and surprisingly invited Faisalabad Wolves to bat first on a pitch which had nothing for the bowlers.

Openers Muhammad Hafeez and Asif Hussain punished the opposition bowlers by playing effortless strokes. Asif was the first to depart after he had added 117 runs for the opening stand with Hafeez. This was also the first century stand of the event for the opening wicket. He hit six fours and two huge sixes in his 34-ball 54.

Ali Waqas joined Hafeez and the duo kept on scoring at a great pace. Hafeez’s half century came in 31 balls before he hit left-arm spinner Sohail Ahmed for two to complete his century. He departed soon after completing his ton; caught by wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal off Wahab Riaz. Hafeez cracked 16 fours and two sixes in his 53-ball innings.

Ali Waqas (28), Misbah-ul-Haq (11) and Khurram Shehzad (4) were the others who got out as Faisalabad Wolves reached 211 for five. Wahab Riaz produced a career-best feat of three for 32.

In reply, Lahore Lions failed to bear the pressure of a tough chase and were restricted to 166 for nine. The hallmark of Lahore Lions innings was excellent half century from skipper Salman Butt who was run out on 59. The left-hander hit eight fours and a six. Kamran Akmal hit four fours in his 12-ball 19 while his brother Umar Akmal cracked two fours and a six in his eight-ball 17.

Summarised scores: Faisalabad Wolves 211-5 in 20 overs (Mohammad Hafeez 100, Asif Hussain 54; Wahab Riaz 3-32). Lahore Lions 166-9 in 20 overs (Salman Butt 59; Shahid nazir 2-24, Asad Ali 2-35).

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