Rawalpindi keep fingers crossed after beating Peshawar
Group ASohail Tanvir's 7 for 91 boosted Khan Research Laboratories' chances of making the final as they took a first-innings lead against the bottom-placed Pakistan Customs at Mirpur Cricket Stadium. Resuming on 67 for 3, Pakistan Customs lost Rameez Raja early, caught by Mohammad Wasim off Tanvir. The bowler followed it up with the wicket of Yasir Hussain, before captain Zahoor Elahi and wicketkeeper Zeeshan Ali strung together a 50-run partnership for the sixth wicket. Zahoor finally fell on 64 off 100 balls, stroking eight boundaries, as Tanvir and Saeed Ajmal shot out Pakistan Customs for 179, 29 short of KRL's first-innings total. Mohammad Wasim's unbeaten 53 was the highlight of KRL's second innings as they finished the day on 134 for 3.
Table-toppers National Bank of Pakistan(NBP) let slip a dominant position, floundering against Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited's bowlers at the Multan Cricket Stadium. Resuming on 248 for 4, captain Qaiser Abbas was the first to go after adding only four to his overnight score of 27. Samiullah Khan, who had Abbas caught by Umar Akmal, got his fourth wicket when he bowled wicketkeeper Amin-ur-Rehman for a duck soon after. That paved the way for Mohammad Hafeez, who picked up three lower-order wickets to shoot out NBP for 326. Hafeez could not repeat the feat with the bat during SNGPL's reply, but it was an emphatic unbeaten 120 from Akmal which saw them ending the day on a 214 for 4.
A patient half-century from captain Aamer Sajjad gave Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) first-innings points against Habib Bank Limited (HBL) at the Shiekhupura Stadium. Resuming on 29 for 1, Ahmed Said and Jahangir Mirza continued solidly. But it was Sajjad who starred for WAPDA. He was involved in two fifty-plus partnerships - 51 for the fourth wicket with Bilal Khilji and adding 75 for the fifth with Nawaz Sardar. And by the time he was dismissed for 61, WAPDA had drawn level with HBL's first-innings total of 202. Sajjad hit seven boundaries and a six in his 183-ball effort. Nawaz continued strongly and remained unbeaten on 41 as WAPDA took stumps at 239 for 7. Abdur Rehman was the most successful bowler for HBL, picking up 3 for 58, while Mohammad Aslam finished with 2 for 47.
Captain Zulqarnain Haider led from the front with a half-century as Lahore Shalimar powered their way to 456 against Sui Southern Gas Corporation(SSGC) at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. In reply, SSGC lost Ali Hussain early on to end the day at 68 for 1. Both overnight batsmen, Zulqarnain and Shahram Ali (45), continued strongly putting on 103 for the fifth wicket. Zulqarnain hit seven fours in his 176-ball 72 and was trapped leg before by Adnan Malik, who finished with four wickets. Mohammad Saeed, whose 44 late in the innings helped Lahore go past 450, dealt SSGC the lone blow.
A fine double-century from Fahad Iqbal, well supported by Ali Imran's 69, lifted Pakistan International Airlines(PIA) from their overnight score of 291 for 7 to 459 for 9 against Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited(ZTBL) at the Iqbal Stadium. Fahad remained unbeaten on 200 off 327, hitting 27 boundaries and three sixes, as the two added 170 for the eighth wicket. Imran's effort came off 128 balls, which included nine fours. The reply from ZTBL was strong, as both openers, Afaq Raheem and Inam-ul-Haq, hit unbeaten fifties to take them to 142 for no loss at the end of play.
Group BA five-wicket haul by Rizwan Akbar and a breezy half-century from opener Hamid Riaz helped Rawalpindi clinch victory against Peshawar by six wickets inside two days at the Arbab Niaz Stadium. Rizwan, with 5 for 61, was the wrecker-in-chief during Peshwar's second innings as he accounted for five of the top seven Peshawar batsmen. He ended with nine wickets in the match, with Mohammad Rameez and Babar Naeem sharing the remaining five wickets in the second innings. Riaz Afridi's brave 49-ball 50, which comprised five fours and three sixes, was not enough as the hosts were shot out for 145 in the 44th over. Hamid Riaz's 73 off 75 balls then helped Rawalpindi make easy weather of the target of 145. He hit 13 boundaries and a six and put on 92 for the second wicket with Awais Zia, to hand Rawalpindi nine points. They can only hope now the result between Sialkot and Faislabad goes their way in order the final.
Stellar performances from Bilal Azmat and Haris Sohail made Sialkot firm favourites to make the final as they took a commanding 257-run lead against Faisalabad at the Jinnah Stadium. The overnight batsmen picked up from where they left off on the first day, as Azmat brought up his fifty. Even though Sohail fell after a well-constructed 86, that included four boundaries, Azmat continued undeterred. He was one of Qaiser Iqbal's four victims but had stroked a handsome 100 off 158 balls, hitting 16 fours en route. Faisalabad replied impressively, with Imran Ali and Qaiser putting on a 72-run opening stand. Imran looked confident and hit 18 fours during his unbeaten 114 as Faisalabad ended the day on 174 for 1.
It was an opportunity missed for Abbottabad as the batsmen put up a disappointing show against Multan in Okara. Ansar Javed's pace proved too be too much as Abbottabad were bowled out for 333 after beginning the day on 299 for 5. Once Abdur Rauf had Rehan Afridi caught behind, without adding to his overnight score, Javed started the demolition job as he ran through the lower order in quick time. Javed finished with 5 for 50 as Abbottabad crumbled inside 17 overs. Twin fifties from Mohammad Yasir (71) and Kashif Naved (83 not out) strengthened Multan during their reply and their century partnership for the third wicket was instrumental in them sitting pretty at 252 for 3 at stumps.
A five-wicket blitz by Lal Kumar put bottom-placed Hyderabad on course for first-innings points against Karachi Blues at the Nawabshah Cricket Stadium. Finishing on 278, after a late effort by Shoaib Laghari (33 not out), Kumar ripped through the Karachi batting. After opener Mohammad Faheem was run out with the score on 35, Lal removed Shadab Kabir and Shehryar Ghani in quick succession. Wickets fell at regular intervals, with wicketkeeper Owais Rahmani offering a lone resistance with 43, before being trapped leg-before by Kumar. The bowler picked up two more scalps of Mohammad Farrukh and Adnan Kaleem to leave Karachi tottering at 205 for 9.
Saad Altaf finished with a five-for for Islamabad as Lahore Ravi added 103 runs to their overnight score to finish on 387 at the Diamond Club Ground. In reply, the hosts, who are desperate for a win to ensure a spot in the final, went in search of quick runs and were anchored by Ali Sarfraz's unbeaten 62. More runs were expected from Lahore when they took the field on the second day, but once overnight centurion Ashraf Ali exited on 113, the Islamabad bowlers struck regularly. Altaf added the wickets of Waqas Ahmed and Usman Malik to his three victims the previous day to finish with 5 for 93. Islamabad ended up scoring at over four-an-over and it was the 92-run partnership for the third wicket between Sarfraz and Ameer Khan (42) which kept their hopes alive as they took stumps at 194 for 3.