WAPDA turn the tables on Pakistan Customs
Group AWater and Power Development Authority conceded the first-innings lead against Pakistan Customs in Sialkot, but dismissed the hosts cheaply in the second innings to end the penultimate day in sight of victory. Jahangir Mirza added 28 to his overnight 107 to help WAPDA, resuming on 212 for 9, restrict Pakistan Customs' advantage to 59. Naved-ul-Hasan and Kashif Raza each took three wickets as Pakistan Customs were dismissed for 144 in 50.1 overs. Opener Rameez Raja made 41, and only three other batsmen made it to double figures. Bilal Shafayat, the Pakistan Customs captain, was absent hurt. Pursuing 204, WAPDA lost Ahmed Said cheaply, but Mirza and Salman Akbar guided them to 59 for 1 at stumps.
Habib Bank Limited did well to take the remaining eight wickets in Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited's second innings for 118 runs, but chasing 462, they slipped to a precarious 135 for 4 at close on the third day in Sheikhupura. ZTBL captain Abdul Razzaq scored 74 to back up his five wickets on the second day, but the last five wickets fell for 43 runs as they were dismissed for 256. Left-arm spinner Mohammad Aslam took 4 for 61 off 25.5 overs. At stumps, HBL still needed 327 for an improbable win.
Karachi Whites secured a 117-run first-innings lead on the third day against Lahore Shalimar in Muridke. Lahore, who finished day two at 60 for 2 in reply to Karachi's 501 for 7 declared, were dismissed for 384. Mohammad Asim top scored with 64, while Suleman Khan and Asif Raza also managed half-centuries, and Mohammad Saeed missed out with 49. Tanvir Ahmed and Faraz Ahmed took three wickets apiece for Karachi, with Mohammad Sami and Khalid Mahmood striking twice. Karachi's openers played out five overs till stumps.
In the clash of the leaders in Rawalpindi, Khan Research Laboratories gained the first-innings against National Bank of Pakistan. KRL captain Mohammad Wasim, overnight on 25, made 49 and No. 10 Jaffar Nazir contributed 26 to help their team push from 168 for 7 to 237, a lead of 53. Sixteen-year old Mohammed Aamer added two wickets to finish with 6 for 95 - he now has 48 for the tournament at 13.60 apiece. However, what could have proved costly for NBP were the 19 no-balls from their new-ball operators: Aamer bowled nine, and Wahab Riaz the rest - he bowled three wides as well. NBP opener Nasir Jamshed, overlooked for the first Test against Sri Lanka, then made 107 off 105 balls as his side reached 292 for 3 in their second innings. Umar Amin scored 85, while Naumanullah and captain Qaiser Abbas stayed unbeaten on 48 and 33. Sohail Tanvir took 2 for 83 in his 20 overs.
In another see-saw contest, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited gained the first-innings lead against Pakistan International Airlines in Faisalabad, but closed the day with an advantage of 264 and two second-innings wickets in hand. Beginning at 166 for 6, PIA did well to reach 223, with wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed adding 32 to his 56. However, defending champions SNGPL came up with a lacklustre performance in their second innings. The batsmen failed to convert their starts to bigger scores, and they were at 162 for 8 at close, with wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal unbeaten on 32. PIA's Najaf Shah took 4 for 44.
Group BAn interesting finish is on the cards in Mirpur Khas, with Hyderabad at 148 for 5 chasing 274 against Quetta. Starting the day at 179 for 4 in their second innings - a lead of 93 - Quetta doubled their total, finishing with 359. Jalat Khan, overnight on 92, scored his second first-class ton: a career-high 170. Sanaullah Khan and No. 10 Gauhar Faiz made useful 30s. Nasim Khan, the Quetta captain, was unable to bat. Faiz then struck twice, and his new-ball partner Nazar Hussain took three wickets to leave Hyderabad reeling at 56 for 5. However, an unbeaten 63 from Lal Kumar, supported by Hanif Malik's 25 not out, kept Hyderabad's chances of a win alive.
Faisalabad's first-innings lead was kept to 120 thanks to Jamaluddin's unbeaten 102, but Peshawar could face the prospect of trying to battle for a draw on the final day after the hosts raced to 220 for 4 in their second innings in Sargodha. Overnight on 137 for 6, Jamaluddin, resuming on 28, held anchor at one end and strung together partnerships with the lower order. Hidayatullah Khan, the other overnight batsman, made 37 and captain Nauman Habib made 26. Left-arm spinner Saadat Munir picked the final two wickets to finish with 4 for 57 in the innings. Opener Qaiser Iqbal then scored 69, and Usman Arshad finished on 87 not out as Faisalabad added 220 in 55 overs.
Karachi Blues need six more wickets to complete a win against Multan after 15 wickets fell on the third day in Karachi. Multan, who began the day at 147 for 8 in their first innings, scored 185: a first-innings deficit of 141. However, they fought back strongly. Left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar scalped 5 for 69, and two others snared two wickets apiece, as Karachi Blues managed only 194 for 9 declared in 54.3 overs. However, set 336 to win, Multan closed the day struggling at 44 for 4. Opening bowler Tabish Khan took 3 for 14 in his eight overs, while Adnan Kaleem removed opener Taimur Ahmed for 25.
Overnight batsmen Raza Ali and Sohail Ahmed both got their centuries as Lahore Ravi scored 437 in their first innings against Abbottabad at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. Abbottabad, trailing by 150 on the first innings, ended the day at 73 for 2, with Adnan Raees unbeaten on 36. Resuming on 193 for 2, Lahore lost Raza, who made 111, on 237. Sohail then combined with Ashraf Ali (53) for a 87-run stand. No. 10 Usman Malik scored a quickfire 42 not out. Abbottabad conceded 40 extras as well, with 10 wides, 15 no-balls and five penalty runs.
At Diamond Club Ground, hosts Islamabad took the first-innings lead against Sialkot. Resuming on 6 for 0 in reply to Sialkot's 268 after no play was possible on the second day, Islamabad reached 354 for 9 thanks to Ashar Zaidi's 124, and half-centuries from opener Raheel Majeed and No. 8 Imad Wasim. Naved Arif and Nayyer Abbas took three wickets apiece. With two innings still to go and one day left, the game seems headed for a draw.