Rawalpindi Raiders successfully defended a 55-run target (five overs) to seal a dramatic victory 14-run win over Hyderabad Hunters in the rain reduced match eight of the Pakistan Junior League under the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore lights on Tuesday night. The loss has left the winless Hunters on the verge of an early exit from the six-team tournament as the defeat to Raiders was their third successive loss of the tournament.
Afnan Khan took a last over hat-trick (the first in PJL history) to spearhead his side’s stunning win.
On Tuesday night, the Hunters were given a revised target of 55 runs in five overs after the Raiders innings was shortened due to a thunderstorm at the end of the 16th over of their innings with the total at 125 for four.
Once the rain halted, the ground was made fit for play (Hunters chase) courtesy a relentless effort of the GSL ground staff who spent more than two hours drying the outfield.
Despite a relatively simple task, the Hunters chase got off to a poor start as openers Arbaz Khan (0) and captain Saad Baig (8) fell cheaply. The Hunters then lost Afaq Khan for a first-ball duck and Moiz Rana for a second-ball duck to stutter to 19 for four in two overs. Ali Raza’s dramatic second over took 11 balls and included two no-balls and two wides besides the two wickets.
Afnan bowled a brilliant third over, the left-arm-spinner conceded a mere six runs to leave Hunters needing 30 off the last 12 balls. Naveed Ahmed Khan conceded a four and a six to Ali Naseer (12) before having him stumped to leave the Hunters tottering at 35 for five.
Needing 16 off the last over, the Hunters were stifled by Afnan who conceded a single runs while capturing the wickets of Mohammad Zubair Jnr, Hassan Iqbal and Dubs Wood off successive deliveries.
Hunters finished their disappointing five-over innings at 40 for eight.
Earlier, Raiders were provided a scintillating start by Habibullah and Hassan Eisakhil. The two took advantage of some below par bowling and fielding by the Hunters to race to 63 in five overs.
Habibullah took pacer Fahad Amin to the cleaners by taking 32 runs in the fourth over of the match. After hitting two majestic sixes off successive balls, Habibullah earned a reprieve when he was caught off a no-ball. Habibullah deposited the next ball over the ropes and then added one more four to finish the over in style. Fahad’s over is the most expensive in the tournament to date.
Hunters finally had some success when Habibullah was dismissed lbw by Muneeb Wasif for 38 off 21 balls (two fours, four sixes).
Hassan continued to pressurize the Hunters with impressive ball striking, Hunters finally found some joy in the field when a direct-hit from Zubair ran out Wahaj Riaz (11) with the total at 100 in the 11th over. Zubair made another telling contribution when another direct-hit ran out Kai Smith (1).
Hassan completed his half-century off 33 balls, he was dismissed soon after by Dubs Wood for 52 (36 balls, four fours, three sixes). The Hunters innings was interrupted at 125 for four (16 overs).