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December 30, 2008
Group AMohammad Talha took 5 for 37, and Mohammad Aamer and Wahaz Riaz scalped two each, as National Bank of Pakistan secured a 171-run win over Habib Bank Limited in Karachi. Chasing 260, HBL had been reduced to 10 for 3 by stumps on the second day, and the remaining batsmen could only score a further 78 on Tuesday. Khaqan Arsal made 34 of those as last year's finalists began their season on a low note.
Pakistan International Airlines completed an innings-and-193-run rout of Karachi Whites on the third day at the National Stadium. Karachi, resuming on 73 for 3 in their second innings, folded for 161. Anwar Ali, the PIA medium-pacer, was once again the wrecker-in-chief, taking 5 for 43 to complete his second ten-wicket match haul in first-class games.
An unbeaten 32 from Kashif Daud helped Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited gain a six-run first-innings lead over Khan Research Laboratories in Rawalpindi. ZTBL, who began the day at 191 for 7, managed to reach 255. KRL, though, have a chance of trying to force a result on the fourth day after scoring 210 for 3 in their second innings by stumps. A high run-rate of 4.17 was achieved thanks to Saeed Anwar jnr's 102 off 128 balls. He put on 181 for the second wicket with Azhar Ali (81), but ZTBL captain Iftikhar Anjum came back to remove the two set batsmen after having bagged an early wicket.
Pakistan Customs suffered a collapse on the third day at the Quaid-e-Azam Park in Karachi, in the process conceding a 44-run first-innings lead to Sui Southern Gas Corporation. Qasim Sheikh, the Scotland batsman, scored his maiden first-class century, but SSGC's bowlers hit back. From 181 for 1, Pakistan Customs crumbled to 302 all out. No other batsman besides Sheikh went past 40. For SSGC, Mohammad Kashif took four wickets, while off-break bowler Haaris Ayaz bagged three, including that of Sheikh's. SSGC's openers negotiated two overs in their second innings before stumps.
After no play on the first day, and 33 overs on the second, only six overs were bowled on Tuesday in the match between Water and Power Development Authority and defending champions Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited in Sheikhupura. SNGPL, resuming on 66 for 3, lost a wicket for the addition of six runs.
Group BRawalpindi conceded the first-innings lead to Islamabad at the Diamond Club Ground, but came back strongly to dismiss the hosts for 124. They now need only 11 runs on the final day, with four wickets remaining, to seal victory. Rawalpindi added 20 to their overnight 211 for 8, but still fell 14 short of Islamabad's first-innings total. Their bowlers, though, quickly reduced the hosts to 70 for 7, and it was only a 40 from No. 8 Fakhar Hussain that helped Islamabad past 100. Haseeb Azam took 6 for 64, while Rashid Latif snared three as Rawalpindi used only three bowlers. Rawalpindi crumbled to 31 for 5 chasing 139, but opener Hammad Azam (58 not out) and Yasim Murtaza (34) revived the innings with a 73-run stand.
Half-centuries from Sajjad Ahmed and Mohammad Rizwan failed to stave off defeat for Peshawar against Abbottabad at the Arbab Niaz Stadium. Peshawar, with five second-innings wicket gone, began the day trailing by 99. Sajjad (84) and Rizwan (60) gave them hope with their 135-run stand - 59 of which came on the second day - but still Peshwar could only manage 247 in their second innings, setting Abbottabad a target of 22. Rashid Mansoor took five wickets, with fellow spinner Noor-ul-Amin grabbing three. Abbottabad lost one wicket during their chase, which was completed in 4.3 overs.
Karachi Blues will also look to wrap up a win on the final day against Quetta in Karachi. Quetta, though, put up a much better performance after they were shot out for 129 in their first innings on Monday. Resuming their second innings at 51 for 1 - they were made to follow on - Quetta progressed to 249 for 8 in the 73 overs bowled on Tuesday. Quetta captain Nasim Khan top scored with 62, but with a lead of only 89, Karachi would look to take the remaining two wickets and chase down an easy target.
Only 60-odd overs were possible at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, where a draw seems likely between Lahore Ravi and Faisalabad. Resuming their first innings at 260 for 6, Lahore Ravi pushed to 327, with the overnight pair of Junaid Zia and Ali Raza both scoring 40s. Opener Imran Ali made an unbeaten half-century, but Faisalabad lost two wickets while scoring 96 in their 36 overs before stumps.
Proceedings finally got underway at the Multan Cricket Stadium, where Multan made 170 for 5 in 55 overs against Hyderabad. Left-arm spinner Pir Zulfiqar picked up three wickets for the visitors.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the day from the fifth ODI in Ranchi
Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough