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February 28, 2009
Khan Research Laboratories sneaked into the final on the basis of a better net run-rate after a draw between National Bank of Pakistan, who also finished on 51 points, and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited in Multan. With KRL having posted a win on Friday and possessing a better net run-rate, NBP needed a win to progress to the title clash but Mohammad Hafeez blunted their bowling, making his 15th first-class century to ensure a stalemate. Earlier in the day, NBP's batting capitulated to spin - Adnan Rasool and Hafeez sharing eight wickets - to lose their last seven wickets for 50. The target for SNGPL was 277 in 69 overs but Hafeez's effort meant NBP never got close to the required win. SNGPL adopted a cautious approach, scoring at 2.61 an over, to finish the day at 162 for 2, much to the delight of KRL.
The contest between Habib Bank and Water and Power Development Authority petered out to a tame draw in Sheikhpura. Rehan Rafiq and captain Hasan Raza were involved in a 132-run fifth-wicket partnership, and the lower order - namely Abdur Rehman and Humayun Farhat - chipped in with useful contributions to help Habib Bank set WAPDA an impossible target of 256 with few overs to play. For WAPDA, fast bowler Azharullah and left-arm spinner Mustafa Iqbal took three wickets each. In their second innings, WAPDA reached 83 for 4 at the close with Mohammad Aslam finishing with 3 for 38.
In a match reminiscent of Pakistan's dull draw against Sri Lanka in the first Test in Karachi, the third innings barely got underway in a high-scoring stalemate between Lahore Shalimar and Sui Southern Gas Corporation at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. Sheraz Butt, the medium pacer, took 5 for 65 but the others went for plenty as SSGC piled up 459, thanks to centuries from Wajid Ali and captain Saeed bin Nasir. That left Lahore about two hours to bat in their second innings, which they played out losing three wickets for 120.
In yet another drawn game, Pakistan International Airlines helped themselves to some batting practice against Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, scoring 269 for 3, led by a century from opener Shoaib Khan snr. ZTBL had been earlier bowled out for 345 in their first innings, and with no result in sight and two more innings to play in a day, PIA batted out the remaining 79 overs.
Group BOffspinner Usman Malik scythed through Islamabad's lower order to take his maiden ten-wicket match haul and give Lahore Ravi their first victory of the season at the Diamond Club ground. Islamabad were set an unlikely 438 off 85 overs, a target which became virtually ungettable after Lahore's seamers reduced the home side to 36 for 4. There was some resistance from Zeeshan Mushtaq (43) and Kamran Hussain (61) but Usman took the last six wickets to wrap up Islamabad's innings for 217. It capped a great game for Usman, who had only eight scalps from five previous games this season. It has been a remarkable season for Lahore: they were unbeaten through the campaign, but finish with less than half the points of table-toppers Sialkot because they drew all nine previous matches.
In the game at the Gymkhana Ground Multan in Okara, Abdur Rauf completed his excellent season with a five-wicket haul that pushed Multan to a nine-wicket win over Abbottabad. Starting the final day 166 runs behind and having lost four batsmen, Abbottabad could at best hope for a draw. Adnan Raees tried to keep them in the game with a 154-ball 142, but there was little support from the rest, none of them going past 30. Abbottabad folded for 248 leaving Multan a target of 32 which was knocked off in 2.3 overs. The victory helped them finish in sixth place, after having started the match in eighth.
At the Nawabshah Cricket Stadium, Hyderabad drew with Karachi Blues to lift themselves off the bottom of the table. Hyderabad declared after adding 77 runs to boost their lead to 374, a target Karachi rarely looked intent to chase down. No. 4 Sheharyar Ghani, who made a run-a-ball 40, was the only batsman who made quick runs, the rest maintaining strike-rates in the 50s. Captain Shadab Kabir top-scored with a patient 64, and Akbar-ur-Rehman helped himself to an unbeaten 40 before the match was called off with Karachi on 219 for 6.
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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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