Alam double ton puts NBP in pole position
National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) emerged firm favourites in their tie against Pakistan Customs at the National Bank of Pakistan Sports Complex in Karachi. Captain Fawad Alam took full advantage of the home conditions, scoring an unbeaten 296 in NBP's 627. A brisk innings saw him taking full toll of the bowlers, stroking 37 fours and two sixes in his 294-ball innings. Nasir Jamshed also reached his hundred, while Qaisar Abbas provided able support with 52. Six of the seven bowlers used finished with economy-rates above five, with a run-rate of 5.70 for the innings. More trouble was in store for Customs, who were reduced to 18 for 3 in their second innings and need another 479 runs to avoid an innings defeat.
Ali Asad completed his century while Asim Kamal scored an unbeaten 58 to help Karachi Whites extend their lead to 148 against Habib Bank Limited (HBL) at the Southend Club Cricket Stadium in Karachi. Resuming on 95 for 0, Asad lost his opening partner Murtaza Majeed for 41. But he continued strongly from his overnight score of 58 to finish on 108, hitting 13 fours. Kamal's composed half-century further strengthened HBL and along with Javed Mansoor guided them to 324 for 5 at the end of the day. Fahad Masood provided the little cheer for Karachi with his 3 for 70.
Fifities from Umar Akmal and captain Azhar Shafiq put Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited on top against Lahore Shalimar at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. The two put on 124 for the third wicket to give SNGPL a slender nine-run lead, as they ended the day on 216 for 4. Mohammad Saeed was left to fight a lone battle after Lahore continued from 176 for 7 the previous day. He remained unbeaten on 59, as they were bowled out inside the first 14 overs.
Imran Abbas missed out on a century as Sui Southern Gas Corporation were bowled out for 278 on the second day of their match against Pakistan International Airlines at the Quaid-e-Azam Park. He failed to build on his unbeaten 82 from the previous day, finishing on 90, as SSGC added 72 runs to their overnight score. PIA were struggling at 59 for 3 at one stage before fifties from the two Iqbals, Fahad and Faisal, propped up the Group A toppers and took them to a strong 181 for 3 at the end of play.
It was Junaid Nadir's turn with the bat, after his bowling heroics on the first day for Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited against Water and Power Development Authority at the Sheikhupura Stadium. Coming in at No. 6, his 117-ball 60 was crucial in ensuring a first-innings lead after the good work by Afaq Raheem (82) at the top threatened to come undone. Mustafa Iqbal finished with 4 for 39 and Sarfraz Ahmed picked up 3 for 47, as ZTBL were all out for 242 in reply to WAPDA's 199.
Multan posted an impressive 332 in their first innings against Faisalabad at Okara. While Usman Tariq starred on the first day, Naved Yasin and Majid Majeed carried on the good work from the overnight score of 153 for 4. Yasin fell eight short of a century, while Majeed scored 75 off 199 balls, including ten boundaries and a six. The sixth-wicket partnership of 139 between the two was the highlight of the day's play, as was Zahoor Khan's 5 for 100 in the innings. Faisalabad lost their openers, Imran Ali and Zeeshan Asif, during the reply and finished on 68 for 2 at stumps.
Riaz Kail's 87 helped Abbottabad gain a 145-run lead against Karachi Blues at the United Bank Limited Sports Complex. Beginning the day at 146 for 5, Abbottabad lost Rashid Mansoor early, but Kail's 187-ball innings, which comprised ten fours and a six, put them in charge. Kail was involved in two 50-plus partnerships - 57 for the seventh wicket with Mohammad Kashif, and 67 with Noor-ul-Amin for the seventh. Abdul Ameer's five-for, and Tabish Khan's 4 for 99 were the only bright spots for Karachi, who slipped to 101 for 5 in their second innings. The Abbottabad seamers, Armaghan Elahi and Rashid Mansoor, split the spoils as Karachi were left facing an uphill struggle, still trailing by 44.
Waqas Ahmed and Junaid Zia contrived to shoot out Quetta for 256 in their fixture against Lahore Ravi at Muridke. Mohammad Aslam brought up his half-century, but could only add four runs to his overnight score of 48. Waqas and Junaid then ran through the lower half who failed to hold up against the seamers. But Lahore were left precariously at 103 for 4 at stumps during their reply, to set up an intriguing third day.
Rawalpindi may have been disappointed at being bowled out for 297 in their first innings, but Mohammad Rameez and Rizwan Akbar rang in the cheer as they ended Sialkot's reply on 155 in Islamabad. Resuming on 231 for 5, Naved Arif brought about a quick end to Rawalpindi's innings as finished with 6 for 63. Sialkot, however, never got going during the reply, losing wickets regularly. The highest partnership of 37 came from the fourth-wicket pair of Haris Sohail and Nayyer Abbas. Rameez bagged 4 for 45, while Rizwan picked up 3 for 56. Rawalpindi were 4 for 0 in their second innings at stumps.
Azeem Ghumon's century pushed Hyderabad to 244 for 8 on the opening day against Peshawar at the Niaz Stadium. His 163-ball effort comprised ten boundaries and was the stand-out effort in a disappointing batting card. Imran Khan accounted for three of the top five bastmen and ended with 4 for 37, enabling Peshwar to claw back.