Rawalpindi Rams - Performance in Domestic Competitions - 2011 Faysal Bank Super 8 T20 Cup

2011 Faysal Bank Super 8 T20 Cup

PCB, for the first time, introduced a relegation system in its T20 league and the five lowest ranked teams in the previous year's edition of the Faysal Bank T20 Cup (Quetta Bears, Karachi Zebras, Lahore Eagles, Abbottabad Falcons and Peshawar Panthers) were left out to set up a Super 8 T20 Cup in which eight teams were divided into two groups of four with top two teams from each group setting up semi-final dates with each other.

Rawalpindi Rams started this tournament on a low note with a defeat at the hands of Karachi Dolphins which left them in a do-or-die situation to win their remnant group games or sit out of the semi-final. Chasing a modest score of 146, the Rams lost both their hard hitting opening batsmen to Tanvir Ahmad's medium pacers with a paltry 33 on board. Tight spells from the Karachi spinners ensured that they never really recovered from the early blows and thus cascaded to 136 all out.

In their second group game Rawalpindi Rams took on the home team Faisalabad Wolves in a jam-packed Iqbal Stadium. The Wolves went in first and gave the Rams a quite chase-able total of 141 but Pakistan National Cricket Team veteran, Mohammad Hafeez had other ideas as he triggered a drastic collapse with his canny off breaks. Rams were once cruising along at 90–0 but then in a matter of minutes were reduced to 120–6 giving the Wolves a sniff of a surprise victory in front of the home crowd. All such possibilities were shut out by the Rams' wicket-keeper batsman Jamal Anwar who struck 19 from 6 deliveries,included 3 fours & a massive six to bring the matter to a close.

In their third and final group game, Rawalpindi Rams easily got past an off-color Multan Tigers side. The pursuit of a 129-run target on a batting friendly wicket wasn't much of a test for Pindi's hard-hitting batting lineup and they got there with 7 wickets and 5.3 overs to spare., thanks mostly to the incisive left arm spin bowling of Raza Hasan (4 for 21 in his 4 overs).

Rawalpindi Rams made their first ever appearance in a domestic T20 Cup Final by annihilating a star-studded Lahore Lions (defending champions) in an anti-climax of a semi-final. Rams set up a more than just competitive score of 186 in a pressure game thanks to Jamal Anwar's (67 runs off 48 balls including 6 fours & 3 sixes) and Sohail Tanvir's (60* off 44 balls including 5 fours & 3 sixes) fourth wicket stand of 111 from 68 balls. In reply the Lions were just a mere shadow of their former, dominating selves and were reduced to a miserly 88–8 in 13.2 overs by some swashbuckling bowling by the Pindi bowlers before a uselessly late cameo from Adnan Rasool (41* off 24 balls) restored some parity to the Lions score but they were still left needing 50 runs from the last bowl of the game.

On Friday, July 1, 2011, history was written for the Rawalpindi Rams as they beat a strong Karachi Dolphins side in a nerve wrecking finale at a packed-to-the-rafters Iqbal Stadium. The Dolphins were coming back from decimating 5-time champions Sialkot Stallions in the other semi-final and were hot favourites to win the Cup but some tight bowling from the Rams' bowlers especially, slow left armer Samiullah (4 overs for 19 runs), put a cap on Dolphins's power-packed batting lineup and kept them to a par score of 164 in the allotted 20 overs. In reply the Rams' openers started off in the typical '5th-gear' style and got their team to a flyer but then suddenly, the Dolphins maverick, Sohail Khan took two wickets in an over to stun the free-flowing Rams. In Sohail's next over seasoned Rams opener, Awais Zia, creamed him for four consecutive boundaries and restarted Rams' quick advance towards the target but as so often is the case in cricket the bowler has the last laugh and Sohail ended up stopping the Awais Zia juggernaut thanks to the unbelievably superb fielding effort of Haaris Ayaz at mid-wicket who dived full length and pouched a dazzling catch with one hand. The match continued to see-saw both ways before it fittingly ended up as a tie and a Super Over was called in to provide the final ruling.

The best bowler of the tournament was pitted against the aggressive Awais Zia in the first of the two super overs (one per team). Awais superbly scored 16 runs, including a scintillating flat six over midwicket, to give Karachi a challenging total of 17 to win from their 6 legitimate balls. In reply, Khalid Latif belted the very first bowl from left-arm spinner, Raza Hasan, straight back over his head for a monstrous six before falling the next ball. Dolphins could add only a single run to their total as Raza finished his over with a superbly targeted arm-ball that gave Rawalpindi Rams their first ever domestic T20 title.

Wicket-keeper batsman Jamal Anwar was the most successful run-getter for the Rams (7th overall) in this edition of the tournament with 131 runs at an average of 43.6. While Raza Hasan was the second most potent bowler in this tournament (after Sohail Khan) with 11 wickets at 6.2 runs per over.

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