All-round Sabir hands PIA fourth win
Agha Sabir starred in a match-winning all-round display for Pakistan International Airlines, steering them to a fourth consecutive win, against Karachi Dolphins at the Marghzar Cricket Ground in Islamabad. With his left-arm spin, he bagged four wickets to limit Karachi to 193 for 8 and smashed an unbeaten 106 opening the batting to seal an eight-wicket win. Karachi had slipped to 94 for 6 after being put in, but an unbeaten 70 by Owais Rehmani and Tabish Khan's 56 down the order infused some respectability to the score with a 72-run stand. Sabir, though, with support from half-centurion Faisal Iqbal took their team to victory more than 13 overs to spare.
Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited brushed aside Rawalpindi Rams by 128 runs at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. Half-centuries from Raza Ali Dar, Saleem Mughal and Imran Khalid propelled SNGPL to 309 for 6. Rawalpindi had hit back, reducing SNGPL to 179 for 6 at one stage, but Mughal and Khalid added 130 in quick time by scoring at better than a run a ball. Khalid was the more aggressive of the two and their stand proved a match-winning one. The only significant resistance in the reply came from Babar Naeem, who top-scored with an attacking 72, but a collective bowling effort from SNGPL meant Rawalpindi were skittled out for 181 and consigned to a fourth straight defeat.
Imran Farhat's second century in three matches led Habib Bank Limited to a crushing victory over Islamabad at the Diamond Club Ground in Islamabad. HBL notched up 351 in their innings and then bowled Islamabad out for 164, giving them a 187-run win. Farhat followed up his 150 against Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited on January 28 with 164 off 138 balls against Islamabad. Farhat shared a 128-run opening stand with Shan Masood and then put on 159 for the second wicket with Saleem Elahi who scored an unbeaten 85 off 96. Islamabad's chase was derailed early by three wickets from fast bowler Sarmad Anwar and they found themselves 46 for 4. A 56-run partnership between Kashif Majeed and Kamran Hussain provided some respite, but the lower order crumbled and Islamabad slumped to a huge defeat.
National Bank of Pakistan and Multan were involved in a thrilling tie at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. Multan had two opportunities to close out the game after putting 267 on the board: they had NBP reeling at 116 for 6 and then looked favourites again when NBP were 191 for 8. Two crucial partnerships kept NBP in the game. Both involved opener Umar Amin, whose 121 off 121 balls held the innings together. He put together 75 runs for the seventh wicket with wicketkeeper Amin-ur-Rehman and then had another crucial partnership with No. 10 Uzair-ul-Haq who scored 32. Amin was run out before he had overcome the Multan total and NBP had to settle for the tie. Mutan's innings had got off to a solid start and it was the lower order who failed to capitalise. Zain Abbas scored 122 off 117 balls, and put together 160 for the first wicket with Imranullah Aslam. Mutan reached 222 for 2, but lost their last eight wickets for 45 runs.
Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited inflicted a massive defeat on Sialkot Stallions at the Jinnah Stadium in Sialkot. Imran Nazir was ruthless in his 114, smashing 19 fours and three sixes in his 68-ball knock while Babar Azam smashed a run-a-ball 132 to set up ZTBL's score of 377 for 3. They were also helped by an attacking knock by Shahid Yousuf, who made 83 to step up at the death. Sialkot's reply simply failed to measure up; only Mohammad Ayub showed some steel with 69 but the rest, for the most part, struggled. Mohammad Khalil and Junaid Zia grabbed three wickets each to bowl out Sialkot for 204.
Fast bowler Sarfraz Ahmed and Water and Power Development Authority's left-arm spinners skittled Faisalabad out for 131 to give their side a 53-run victory in a low-scoring match at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad. Sarfraz did the initial damage with three early wickets reducing Faisalabad to 22 for 3, and then the spinners Mohammad Waheed and Rafatullah Mohmand took over, running through the batting line-up. Hasan Mahmood waged a lone battle for Faisalabad scoring 55 not out. WAPDA had struggled in their innings and had to rely on an unbeaten 61 by their captain Bilal Khilji and a useful 41 from Waheed down the order to reach 181. Faisalabad debutant Mohammad Ashraf took 4 for 31.