Bowlers put NBP in command
Group ATwenty-one wickets fell on an eventful day at the National Bank of Pakistan Sports Complex in Karachi. Habib Bank Limited lost 11 of those wickets for 90 runs, making National Bank of Pakistan the firm favourites heading into the third day. HBL began the day at 11 for 2 in their first innings in reply to NBP's 209, and finished in an even more precarious situation, at 11 for 3 chasing 260. Their first innings folded for 80, with Mohammad Aamer taking four, aided by two wickets apiece for Mohammad Talha and Mohammad Imran. NBP gained a lead of 129, and doubled it with a score of 130 in their second innings, despite legspinner Danish Kaneria striking form with a five-wicket haul and left-arm seamer Kamran Hussain taking three. HBL were set the highest total of the game for victory, but three quick wickets leave captain Younis Khan and the remaining batsmen an improbable task at hand.
A win is also on the cards for Pakistan International Airlines after Karachi Whites closed the second day with three second-innings wickets down and still needing a further 281 runs to make the opposition bat again at the National Stadium in Karachi. PIA, who began the day with a lead of 108 - Karachi were shot out for 65 on the first day - extended it to 354. It was a combined batting effort: the lowest score among their top seven was 39, with 78 the best. Anwar Ali, who took five in the first innings, scalped two wickets in the second as Karachi reached 73 for 3 at stumps.
Khan Research Laboratories look poised to take the first-innings lead against Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited in Rawalpindi. Both the teams suffered batting collapses on the second day. KRL, resuming on 242 for 6, could only add seven runs to their total as Ifthikar Anjum and Mohammad Khalil wrapped up the innings. Rizwan Ahmed, unbeaten overnight on 97, managed to get to his second first-class century. Afaq Raheem (79) and Umar Javed (47) took ZTBL to 141 for 1, but offspinner Saeed Ajmal dismissed them both to trigger a collapse. From 160 for 2, ZTBL fumbled to 191 for 7, with Ajmal taking five, and will need a revival to have any hopes of gaining the first-innings lead.
Wicketkeeper Ahmed Zeeshan scored his second first-class ton to take Sui Southern Gas Corporation, resuming on 230 for 4, to 346 in their first innings at the at the Quaid-e-Azam Park in Karachi. However, Pakistan Customs, led by Scotland batsman Qasim Sheikh, made a steady reply to finish at 117 for 1 by close on the second day.
After no play on the first day, only 33 overs were possible on Monday between Water and Power Development Authority and defending champions Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited in Sheikhupura. Kashif Raza struck twice, and SNGPL captain Misbah-ul-Haq scored 13 off 61 balls to take them to 66 for 3.
Peshawar fought back on the second day against Abbottabad but were still staring at a huge defeat at the Arbab Niaz Stadium. After resuming on 227 for 4, Abbottabad lost their last six wickets for 65 runs, give them a first-innings cushion of 226 runs. In reply, Peshawar threatened a repeat of their first-innings failings, slipping to 68 for 5, but rallied through an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 59 between Sajjad Ahmed (45) and Mohammad Rizwan (25).
Karachi Blues took charge of their game against last season's bottom-placed team, Quetta, at the United Bank Limited Sports Complex. After Karachi were dismissed for 289, Quetta folded for 129 and were made to follow on. Medium-pacer Tabish Khan starred with four wickets as only one Quetta batsman, Samiullah Agha, went past 20. In the second innings, Agha was unbeaten on 18 as Quetta closed the day at 51 for 1, still behind by 109 runs.
It was a much closer tussle at the Diamond Club Ground, where Rawalpindi finished day two on 211 for 8, lagging Islamabad's first-innings effort by 41 runs. Fawad Hussain played a lone hand for Rawalpindi, making his second century in only his second first-class match. There weren't any significant contributions from the other specialist batsman, the second-highest scorer being No. 8 Jamal Anwar, who made an unbeaten 25. Rauf Akbar was the most effective of the Islamabad bowlers, finishing with 4 for 43.
The second day at the Gadaffi Stadium between Lahore Ravi and Faisalabad was truncated, with only 66 overs possible. A patient century from No. 3 Kashif Siddiq helped Lahore reach 260 for 6. They were struggling at 43 for 3 before a 91-run stand between Siddiq and Ashraf Ali (33) bailed them out. The other significant partnership was the 78-run association between Siddiq and captain Junaid Zia (38*) for the sixth wicket.
No play was possible on the second day as well between Multan and Hyderabad.