Alam ton helps National Bank sweep into final
Fawad Alam's fifth List A hundred and a strong performance from the bowlers helped National Bank of Pakistan beat Habib Bank Limited by 89 runs to qualify for the final of the President's Cup One-Day tournament. National Bank will meet Khan Research Laboratories in the final on February 1.
National Bank were struggling at 62 for 4 in the 16th over before an 88-run stand between Umar Waheed and Alam helped the side recover. The impetus for the innings, however, came from the lively sixth-wicket partnership between Hammad Azam and Alam as the pair added 96 runs in 7.1 overs to ensure that National Bank reached 272 for 8. Azam's 45 came off just 19 balls with four fours and three sixes while Alam was out for 114 off 130 balls.
The Habib Bank openers added 55 but quick wickets suddenly saw them floundering at 93 for 6 in the 20th over. Rameez Aziz tried to stage a fightback with an unbeaten 86-ball 58 but ran out of partners as Habib Bank eventually folded for 183.
Fifties from opener Raheel Majeed and Rizwan Haider propelled State Bank of Pakistan to a four-wicket win over Pakistan International Airlines in the last round of group matches. Majeed put together two useful partnerships at the start of State Bank's chase of 258, but a couple of quick wickets in the middle allowed the opposition a shot at a comeback. The 94-run, fifth-wicket partnership between Mohammad Afzal and Haider brought State Bank to the brink of victory, before the team closed the match in the 42nd over. Haider scored 78 off 50 balls with 11 fours and three sixes while Majeed compiled a near run-a-ball 84 with 12 fours.
Earlier, a maiden List A hundred from opener Shehzar Mohammad and a fifty from Faisal Iqbal powered PIA to 257 for 5. Mohammad and Iqbal added 152 runs in little more than 25 overs. Iqbal scored 69 off 71 while Mohammad was unbeaten on 127 off 140 balls.
Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited managed to hold onto an exciting seven-run win over Water and Power Development Authority in Faisalabad in the last round of the group matches. Batting first, SNGPL started rather abjectly, losing opener Taufeeq Umar for a golden duck. Ali Waqas and Azhar Ali proceeded to put on a 77-run stand for the second wicket which helped steady the innings. Contributions from captain Misbah-ul-Haq (27), Khurram Shehzad (23) and Mohammed Rizwan (27) ensured SNGPL reached a competitive 262 for 8. Waqas guided the innings with 103 off 121 balls.
The WAPDA reply began promisingly enough, with the openers racking up 35. A double-wicket blow with the score on 80 may have lent some nerves to the dressing room. Mohammad Ayub, the captain, led the way with 56 off 79, and was well supported with efforts from Ayaz Tasawwar (32) and Mohammed Mohsin (42). However, the SNGPL bowlers came back strongly as WAPDA's position at 219 for 5 quickly dissipated to 247 for 9, as they eventually lost by just seven runs. Imran Khalid was the pick of the bowlers with 4 for 45.
In a clash of two mid-table teams Port Qasim Authority eased to a 31-run victory over United Bank Limited at Southend Cricket Club stadium in Karachi. After being put in, PQA slammed 281 in 45 overs, thanks chiefly to captain Khalid Latif's unbeaten 96 off 60 balls. Medium-pacer Mohammad Irshad struck late in the innings to end up with five wickets, but he went at 9.5 runs an overs. UBL's chase started badly with the openers falling cheaply. Though No. 3 Hamza Paracha made an unbeaten 125 and UBL were only four wickets down till late in the chase, they could only end up with 250 for 6. The result meant PQA finished fourth, while HBL ended on seventh.
Sharjeel Khan's 55-ball 92 helped Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited beat last-placed Pakistan Television by four wickets, as they successfully chased down a target of 227 with 13 overs to spare. Sharjeel dominated the 88-run opening stand with Imran Nazir and pushed the ZTBL score to 147 for 1 before he was dismissed. Yasir Hameed then stepped up, scoring 46 off 41 balls before the middle order achieved the target in 32 overs. PTV's innings was propped up largely on the partnerships between Naeem Anjum and Mohammad Adnan (80 runs for the second wicket) and 94 between Mohammad Sami and Usman Ashraf. The 94-run seventh-wicket partnership between Sami, who scored 73, and Ashraf hauled PTV past 200 after the side were struggling at 124 for 6 in the 27th over.