Misbah ton helps SNGPL clinch title
HBL 192 (Raza 50, Hussain 38, Ali 5-67) and 166 for 1 (Hussain 89, Mohmand 65*) drew with SNGPL 351 (Hafeez 69, Misbah 64, Hussain 4-99) and 304 for 9 dec (Misbah 161, Hussain 4-41)
Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) claimed the 50th edition of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy by virtue of a first-innings lead, as their final against Habib Bank Limited (HBL) ended in a draw on the final day in Karachi.
Powered by a majestic 161 by Misbah-ul-Haq, who was later named the Man of the Match, SNGPL declared their second innings on 304 to give HBL an unrealistic target of 463 off 39 overs .
Shahid Afridi, the HBL captain, opted for batting practice and sent Kamran Hussain, who had an impressive match with the bat and ball, to open the batting with Rafatullah Mohmand, and they went on to add 166 runs. With only seven overs remaining in the day following Hussain's dismissal, Afridi agreed to call off play, amid jubilant scenes by the SNGPL team.
Misbah, fresh from his heroics in India and his impressive first-innings 64, resumed on his overnight score of 72. With Khurram Shehzad at the other end, both batsmen were content with a defensive start to the day with the ball moving around a bit. Although Shehzad (40) perished to an Abdur Rehman arm ball and Adnan Akmal (2) was caught-behind off Danish Kaneria, Misbah failed to budge.
After a glance down to fine leg to bring up his century, Misbah shifted gears. Pulling Kaneria's frequently short-pitched deliveries powerfully through midwicket, Misbah drove Rehman with the spin through extra cover, and the unusually-erratic Afridi was dispatched to the leg side for valuable boundaries. A flick off his legs, sandwiched between a slog-swept six off Rehman - one that landed in the stands - and a straight-driven maximum over Kamran's head, brought up his 150 and was
Hussain extracted revenge when Misbah hung his bat outside the offstump and the resulting edge was taken by Humayun Farhat but not before Misbah struck 23 fours and two sixes, finishing with 257 runs in three innings in the tournament.
With the lead in excess of 400, Imran Ali placed the ball between slips and gully for three boundaries before Asad Ali's brief cameo - 22 runs taken off a Hussain over that included a couple of jabbed fours and a six landing near the sight screen - all but took any hopes of an upset away. Hussain, as in the first innings, proved to be HBL's most successful bowler with four wickets while Kaneria, who took Asad's wicket on the brink of lunch, finished with 3 for 92.
Faras Ghani is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo