A century by Salman Butt, leading the Lahore Lions, was overshadowed as his side were pipped by the Islamabad Leopards in the opening match of the ABN-AMRO Cup National One-day Tournament Silver League at the Gaddafi Stadium on Saturday.
The Lions, put in to bat first, compiled a score of 236-9 in their allotted 50 overs, a target the Leopards reached with two balls and two wickets to spare. Butt, who has been placed among the five reserves for Pakistan's World Cup 2007 campaign, remained unbeaten on 129, his ninth hundred in this form and his highest.
It didn't matter much as solid knocks from Bazid Khan (56), Bilal Asad and Raheel Majeed saw the visitors home. Majeed was particularly fluent, his 43 coming from just 30 balls. Asad's innings comleted a fine all-round performance, complementing his 3 for 30 earlier with a 30-ball 34.
The two teams shared the Silver League trophy last season, when the final was rained off in Islamabad without a single ball being bowled.
Multan Tigers, with Usman Tariq and Saeed Anwar jnr unseparated, thrashed Quetta Bears by ten wickets in their opening round Silver League match at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
Tariq remained unbeaten on 51 and Anwar on 32 as the Tigers reached the target in 22 overs, in a match reduced by rain, to 25 overs a side. The win was set up Imranullah Aslam's leg-spin, the 26-year-old from Bahawalpur picking up a career-best 4 for 12..
Quetta opener Shoaib Khan made 39 and his second-wicket stand with Umar Javed brought 45 runs, but the Bears then lost nine wickets in just 11 overs as three batsmen were run out.
Hyderabad Hawks also beat Abbottabad Rhinos with ease in their opening round silver league match at the Diamond Club Ground on Saturday.
The match had been reduced to a 20-over affair due to wet conditions and after being put in, the Rhinos were bowled out for a paltry 105 in 17.5 overs.
Hyderabad reached their target for the loss of only two wickets in 16.2 overs, captain Faisal Athar making an unbeaten 36 off 49 balls with five fours. Shahid Qambrani added 27 before being run out.
Riaz Kail topscored for Abbottabad with 30 and wicketkeeper Ahmed Said hit 26 but it proved too little too late.