LAHORE: Gujranwala Giants remained in the hunt for a Pakistan Junior League (PJL) playoffs spot as they secured a six-wicket win over Hyderabad Hunters in the 13th match of the tournament here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Saturday.
The victory has given the Giants, who stands at number four position with a net run rate of -0.280, an outside chance of securing a playoff berth. If Rawalpindi Raiders, 5th on points table with a net run rate of -0.444, lose their match against Bahawalpur Royals [tonight] and finish on a net run rate below than Giants, Shoaib Malik-mentored Giants will progress to the playoffs.
The Hunters won the toss and opted to bat first, which the Giants took advantage of and restricted them to a paltry 129 runs before chasing down the target in only 16.2 overs at the loss of six wickets, thanks to a sensational bowling display by skipper Uzair Mumtaz and a half-century from Azan Awais.
Left-handed opener Azan was the star performer for their side as he smashed 61 runs in 23 balls, decorated with five boundaries and two maximums before falling to Mohammad Zubair Jr.
Uzair scored 31 off 25 balls (two fours, one six) to follow up on his three-fer with the ball. Zubair took two wickets for the Hunters.
Earlier, the opening pair of captain Saad Baig and Moiz Rana provided their side with a 72-run stand in 11 overs. Saad scored 43 off 44 balls (seven fours) before getting out to Uzair. Moiz was run out for a run-a-ball 25 with the total at 91 in 13.2 overs.
The middle and lower order endured another failure as Hunters failed to capitalize on the foundation provided by the openers.
Arbaz Khan (15), Muneeb Wasif (5), Ali Naseer (11), Salman Ahmed (5), Isai Thorne (2), and Aftab Ibrahim (8) returned to the dugout in quick succession as the Hunters lost momentum in the middle and death overs to post a below par 129 for eight total.
Uzair had an excellent outing with the ball, claiming three-wicket and giving away only 13 runs in three overs bowled.
Fast bowler Mohammad Ibtisam finished with two wickets for 17 runs in his four overs by bowling with both velocity and penetration. Matthew Tromp took two wickets for 25 as he continued his successful run with the ball.