Fawad, Azam set up big win for NBP
A clinical performance in both departments put Habib Bank Limited over Khan Research Laboratories by seven wickets in Rawalpindi.
The slide started early for Habib Bank as they chose to bat. They lost Imran Farhat off the first ball and fumbled to 40 for 5, with captain Younis Khan (69) holding the innings together. He forged a 64-run union with wicketkeeper Jamal Anwar but with only three batsmen reaching double figures, the innings folded for 162, with more than seven overs remaining. Medium-pacer Yasir Arafat was the most successful bowler with 3 for 35 off nine overs, but was ably supported by Rahat Ali and Ali Khan who picked up two wickets apiece.
The opening partnership whittled away well over half the target as Zain Abbas (57) and Mohammad Yasin (78) eased to half-centuries. Though they lost two wickets in between the 35th and 36th overs, the game was already in the bag.
National Bank of Pakistan recovered from a horrid start to roll over State Bank by 77 runs. Fawad Alam's century led a recovery from 0 for 2 and Hammad Azam blasted 91 off 66 helped amass a match-winning total.
Tabish Khan's successes in the first over proved anti-climatic as opener Sami Aslam and Alam compiled a brisk 165-run stand for the third wicket. Reprieve did not come when Aslam fell four runs short of a second List A century, but the incoming Pakistan Under-23 captain Azam blitzed 10 fours and five sixes to power his side to a daunting 313 in the allotted 45 overs. Alam remained unbeaten with 102, with 12 fours.
Rameez Raja and Raheel Majeed made cautious fifties after losing a couple of early wickets, but with the required rate ever rising - it crossed eight before 20 overs - State Bank were always chasing the game. Both batsmen perished attempting to accelerate, as they lost three wickets in three overs to sag on 177 for 7 by the 35th over. Gulraiz Sadaf remained unbeaten on a 28-ball 43, but his efforts came far too late and were not supported by the tail as State Bank was bowled out for 236.
Steady contributions all through the batting order and a disciplined bowling effort, let by the captain Azhar Ali ensured Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited recorded a 71-run win over United Bank Limited in Faisalabad.
Choosing to bat first, they enjoyed a prosperous opening stand which fetched 62 runs, but were hurt by two quick wickets. Though only Hussain Talat, who remained unbeaten, was the only batsman to cross fifty, SNGPL were not lacking in partnerships, one of which was accounted for 100 runs between Talat and Saleem Mughal, who made 43 off 49. For United Bank, Tariq Haroon was the most successful bowler taking 2 for 30 off seven overs .
Though United Bank began promisingly in their chase of the 254-run target, losing five wickets for 27 runs foiled the efforts of opener Abid Ali who stuck it out for 49 off 64 balls. He became one of Azhar's victims as the spinners picked up six wickets between them. Wicketkeeper Bismillah Khan did his best to keep United Bank in the hunt with his aggressive 42, but they fell well short of the target in the 38th over.
Pakistan Television slumped to their third successive loss when they fell short of their target of 257 by 53 runs against Pakistan International Airlines in Islamabad. Their top and middle-order batsmen got starts but could not capitalise on them and an unbeaten fifty from No. 7 Zohaib Ahmed also went in vain.
PIA were put in to bat and after losing Shehzar Mohammad early, their next three batsmen laid the platform for a competitive score. Kamran Sajid and Fahad Iqbal scored 45 and 42 respectively and Faisal Iqbal scored 56. PTV struck back with four wickets within 35 runs, leaving PIA at 213 for 8, but Tahir Khan's 18-ball 35 charged them to 256.
PTV had two strong partnerships - for the second and fourth wickets - but once they were 121 for 4, PIA's bowlers struck regularly to ensure PTV never came back in the game. Three of PTV's batsmen scored 23 and Mohammad Sami scored 43 apart from Ahmed's 52 not out, but all of those weren't enough to take them close to victory.
A four-wicket haul by Sohail Khan bowled out Water and Power Development Authority out for 183, before half-centuries by Kamran Younis and Khalid Latif helped Port Qasim Authority to an easy eight-wicket win. WAPDA were struggling at 55 for 6 before Saad Nasim resisted with 65. A 124-run stand between Younis and Latif had all but sealed the game for PQA.