Haider 11 sends State Bank to final
Fast bowler Rizwan Haider took a career-best 11 for 158, helping State Bank of Pakistan power to the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Silver League final with a three-wicket victory against Pakistan International Airlines in Sialkot. PIA, after being inserted, were shot out for 120 in the first innings. Haider collected 6 for 57 to wreck the team's top and middle order, while Zahoor Khan collected 4 for 35, as PIA were bundled out in 33.1 overs. State Bank, however, hardly fared any better in their first essay and slumped to 84 for 7 thanks to regular blows from Ali Imran (4 for 40) and Anwar Ali (3 for 48). But Naved Yasin struck a crucial 55 not out, helping the team to 172 and earn a slender lead of 52.
Haider once again ran through PIA's top order on his way to picking up 5 for 101, but this time PIA put up more of a fight. Fahad Iqbal top-scored with 93 and shared in a 78-run stand with Sheharyar Ghani, as PIA compiled 279, meaning that State Bank needed to chase down a competitive 228 for the win.
That task was made even harder when they were reduced to 60 for 4 in their chase. Ali Imran was once again the team's most threatening bowler, taking 6 for 47 to increase his match tally to 10. However, State Bank's captain Usman Salahuddin stood firm, stroking a patient 82 not out, and put up 72 for the fifth wicket with Maqbool Ahmed (35). PIA fought back with three more wickets at regular intervals, but handy knocks from Kashif Bhatti, Aamer Yamin and Haider down the order guided State Bank home inside 70 overs.
Habib Bank Limited and Sui Southern Gas Corporation played out a draw at the Mirpur Cricket Stadium, but Habib Bank edged through to the final by the most narrow of margins - a two-run first-innings lead. Rameez Aziz played a crucial part in that, as his 169 in the first innings helped Habib Bank to 417. Batting first, their innings was built around Aziz and Kamran Hussain's (40) 116-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Atif Maqbool was the pick of SSGC's bowlers, taking 3 for 94, while Nasir Malik and Tariq Haroon chipped in with two wickets each.
In reply, SSGC were struggling at 206 for 6 and Habib Bank looked well set to build a healthy lead. However, Asif Zakir struck a valiant 204 not out with 31 fours, and put up 153 for the seventh wicket with Haroon, who muscled a patient 59. At 359 for 6, SSGC would've backed themselves to grab the lead, but Haroon's wicket in the 110th over - trapped lbw by Fahad Masood - led to mini-slide which saw the team lose their last five wickets for 56 runs, meaning they were bowled out for 415 and agonizingly short of a crucial lead.
This meant that SSGC had to force a win to make the final, but with only a day's play remaining, they were always facing an uphill task. Imran Farhat hit 61, while Aziz followed up his first-innings ton with 78 in the second, as Habib Bank scored 201 for 4 before stumps were called, sealing their place in Wednesday's final against State Bank.