Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2014-15, Silver League November 9, 2014

Falcons and Wolves play out draw

ESPNcricinfo staff

Group I

Fahad-ul-Haq struck a brisk, unbeaten century to help Lahore Eagles present a target of 310 to Quetta Bears, who were happy to hold on for the 38 overs remaining till stumps and secure a draw.

The second day's play was lost leaving Eagles to rue a batting display filled with starts that were not capitalised. Wicketkeeper , Jahanzeb Abdullah came in at No. 9 and top scored with 53 off 81 balls. His team's prospects improved on the next after a maiden five-wicket haul from 18-year old seaner Shahid Nawaz. Bears folded for 142, 48 of which was provided by Shahbaz Khan and Eagles had managed to wrangle a lead of 87 runs.

Eagles' batsmen produced a much better effort led by Fahad's 100 off 129 balls, but they did not leave their bowlers enough time to push for victory. They got rid of the Bears openers cheaply, but a half-century from Arun Lal ensured there were no further hiccups.

Bahawalpur Stags wobbled dangerously in a chase of 161 runs, but managed to survive till stumps to complete an eventful draw with Sialkot Stallions.

A top-order slump was capitalised upon by Stags captain Imranullah Aslam whose 5 for 37 limited Stallions to 185. That they reached as much was because of Bilal Hussain, who came in at No. 7 and laced 88 off 83, with 17 fours and a six.

Stags were propped up by contributions down the order as Imranullah top-scored with 62. Their bid to score over 300 though was hampered by Bilal Asif, whose 5 for 60 left them seven runs short. Having given away a lead of 108 runs, Stallions' top order left them waiting for a big innings until their captain Faisal Khan stepped up at No. 6 with 92 off 148 balls, with 11 fours. They could only manage 268 though with Imranullah claiming three wickets.

Stags might have contemplated a victory with an equation that read 161 in 31 overs. A couple of early wickets though weaved them off such notions, but Hasan Ali (3-61) and Waqas Ahmed (2-32) continued attacking had Stags at 109 for 6. There were no further strikes possible though and the batsmen batted out time.

Four-wicket hauls from Waqar Ahmed and Ali Raza handed Pakistan Television three vital points by virtue of taking a seven-run lead in the first innings against Khan Research Laboratories. After fifties from Nawas Ahmed (81) and Zeeshan Mushtaq (73) had lifted PTV to 260, KRL responded with a century from Usman Arshad. However, with no other batsman contributing more than 40, Waqas (4 for 65) and Ali Raza (4 for 75) ensured that KRL were dismissed for 253.

Nawaz once again stroked a half-century in the second innings, but just like in the first essay, the other batsmen failed to make good on their starts, as PTV were bundled out for 206, with Sadaf Hussain running through their middle order to claim 5 for 62. With 214 to chase in less than a day, a KRL win was almost out of the question, but a three-wicket haul from Raza had the team precariously placed at 74 for 4, and PTV had one eye on an unlikely outright victory. Imam-ul-Haq, however, remained unbeaten on 72 to play out a stalemate.

Group II

An impressive batting display from Abbottabad Falcons' lower middle order helped secure a crucial first-innings lead, but the team did not have the required time nor overs to chase down the 158 runs that would have given them an outright win against Faisalabad Wolves. This was mainly because the second day's play was limited to just 22 overs.

Batting first, Wolves' captain Fahim Ashraf led the way with 105, and Sadaqat Ali, the No.10 batsman, hit 62, but none of the other players could muster more than 18. Aziz-ur-Rehman and Umair Khan both collected three-wicket hauls, as Wolves were skittled for 232.

Bursts from Faisal Yasin (4 for 110) and Fahim Ashraf (4 for 100) had Falcons precariously placed at 180 for 7 in their reply. However, Wolves' hopes of securing three points were dashed by Nasir Khan's 72, Sohail Akhtar's 94 and a handy 45 from Shakeel Ahmed, which pushed the score to 353, a lead of 121.

Wolves then batted the game to safety, with Shahid Siddiq's 76 taking the total to 278 for 5, before they decided to declare and set Falcons 158 for victory. Falcons were 9 for 0 when stumps were called.

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