Pentangular Cup, third round, 1st day April 13, 2006

Sami routs Faisalabad for 97

Powered by Mohammad Sami's five-wicket haul, Faisalabad routed National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) a paltry 97 and then gained a first innings lead of 95, on the opening day of their third-round Pentangular Cup encounter at Multan.

The two third-round matches, the other one in Lahore, both started after a day's postponement due to the Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi holiday on Tuesday. National Bank, whose only game so far in the competition fetched them the full nine points, won the toss and put Faisalabad in to bat. Sami's figures of 5 for 31 was his second five-wicket haul in as many games. Yesterday, he was ably supported by his new-ball partner Wasim Khan (3 for 27) and Yasir Arafat as Faisalabad were bowled out in only 33.3 overs.

National Bank were off to a good start with the openers adding 70, but Faisalabad wrested the initiative, restricting them to 192 for 7 at stumps. Still, a lead of 100 and over could prove crucial in this match.

Faisalabad were in all sorts of trouble at 51 for 7, before Shahid Nazir, the former Pakistan pace bowler, top-scored for them with 29. Later, he took 3 for 65 when National Bank batted while Asad Ali got 3 for 57.

Whichever team goes on to win this game will have a very good chance of claiming the Pentangular Cup, when the tournament comes to an end on April 26. With successive wins in their previous two matches, Faisalabad currently have 18 points to their credit. But National Bank still have two more matches left after this one.

Karachi Harbour recovered to make 326 runs in the first innings on the opening day of their third-round Pentangular Cup match against Sialkot, at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Wednesday. By the close of play, Sialkot lost two wickets with 43 on board.

Sialkot won the toss and put Karachi Harbour in to bat. The fast-bowling pair of Asim Butt and Kashif Daud combined to reduce Karachi to 176 for 7 till they were rescued by their eighth wicket pair of Mohammad Hasnain and Rajesh Ramesh, who put on 107. Butt struck four crucial blows early on as they slumped to a poor 97 for 5.

Mohammad Hasnain, the pace bowler, produced his career-best score -- making only his second half-century in 62 innings in first-class cricket -- scoring 72 off 103 balls with 13 boundaries. Ramesh, another pace bowler, played the perfect second foil. He remained unbeaten with 73 to his name, that came off only 94 deliveries and included 12 boundaries. Earlier, Daud, the 20-year old medium-pacer playing in only his fourth first-class match, ended with figures of 5 for 80 in 20.4 overs as Karachi Harbour were eventually bowled out for an adequate-looking total of 326 runs.

Hasnain then went on to dismiss Sialkot's in-form opener Atiq-ur-Rehman while Faraz Ahmed Khan accounted for Majid Jahanagir.

While Sialkot have lost both their previous matches in the Pentangular tournament, being placed at the bottom of the table, Karachi Harbour too were beaten in their opening fixture.