Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Final, 4th day March 6, 2009

Ajmal's late strikes keep game in balance

Cricinfo staff

Sialkot 386 and 40 for 3 need another 118 runs to beat Khan Research Laboratories 296 and 247 (Naqvi 86, Zulfiqar 56, Arif 6-58)

The final of the Quaid-e-Azam is heading for an absorbing fifth day with both sides still with a chance of winning. Khan Research Laboratories looked to be in trouble after being bowled out for 247 to set Sialkot a relatively straightforward target of 158, but offspinner Saeed Ajmal took two late wickets to reduce Sialkot to 40 for 3 by stumps.

Mohammad Wasim and Saeed Anwar jnr, who have been KRL's leading batsmen this season, failed for the second time in the match, to leave their side struggling at 60 for 3, still needing 20 runs to make Sialkot bat again. It was left to wicketkeeper Zulfiqar Jan and Ali Naqvi to keep KRL in the game with a battling 90-run stand. Both of them went on to half-centuries but none of the other batsmen crossed 25. Zulfiqar fell for a subdued 56 while Naqvu made a brisk 86, including 13 fours and two sixes.

Left-arm medium-pacer Naved Arif was the star of the day for Sialkot, scalping six KRL batsmen to become the season's highest wicket-taker. He finishes with 62 wickets, one more than Islamabad's Saad Altaf.

Sialkot may have been jolted by Ajmal's strikes, but with two of their heaviest scorers this season, Mohammad Ayub and Haris Sohail, yet to bat they still retain the edge.