Pakistan Customs stare at defeat
Pakistan Customs were headed towards a big defeat as they finished the third day of their Patrons Trophy match against Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) at Karachi on Sunday, still needing 298 runs to win with only five wickets remaining.
After having dismissed them for a poor 97 in the first innings, ZTBL left Customs a whopping target of 395 to achieve an improbable win. By stumps yesterday, Customs were tottering at 97 for 5 in their second innings. Mohammad Khalil, the left-arm seamer, who was at the centre of the ball-tampering controversy on Saturday, followed his figures of 4 for 38 with 3 for 14 in eight overs on Sunday. All his three victims failed to open their account.
In their second innings, ZTBL raised a total of 238, thanks to a 103-run stand for the sixth wicket between Inam-ul-Haq (52) and Adnan Raza (55). The Customs bowlers acquited themselves well, with paceman Rizwan Akbar taking 4 for 62 and Junaid Zia polishing off the tail, ending up with figures of 3 for 50. Kashif Siddiq was the lone fighter in Customs' second innings, batting on 59 as his side ended the day at 97 for 5.
National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) required another 113 runs to beat Habib Bank with five wickets in hand, as they ended the third day of their Patrons Trophy match at Karachi on Sunday.
Mohammad Sami gave the national selectors another reminder as his 4 for 79 restricted Habib Bank to a second-innings total of 217. He finished with a match-haul of nine wickets for 167 runs. Habib Bank had earlier gained a 41-run first innings lead over NBP, who were then left with 259 to register an outright victory. At stumps yesterday, they reached 146 but lost five wickets on the way.
A quickfire stand of 53 for the eighth wicket took Habib Bank past the 200 mark. Captain Shahid Afridi hammered 35 off 41 balls with six fours while wicketkeeper Humayun Farhat, in his characteristic aggressive style, needed only 36 balls to make 38, with seven boundaries.
NBP were rattled by former Pakistan seamer Irfan Fazil, who ended the day with 3 for 34, as four wickets were gone with only 32 runs on the board. Naumanullah, the captain, then lifted the team's morale with an unbeaten 69, off 145 balls with 10 boundaries. He was involved in a 47-run stand with Naved Latif and with Qaiser Abbas, he added an unbeaten 67 for the sixth wicket.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) restricted Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) to a first innings score of 253 and, then, finished the third day of their Patrons Trophy match at 17 for 1, at Sheikhupura on Sunday.
After having been put in, SNGPL reached 154 for 5 in 44 overs in the opening day, hit by poor weather. The second day was then completely washed out. Yesterday, SNGPL added another 99.
Azhar Shafiq missed a well-deserved hundred by just eight runs, after having staged a tough battle against the PIA bowlers. His 92 came off 183 deliveries with 11 fours and a six. For PIA, left-arm fast-medium bowler Najaf Shah chipped in with four wickets. Legspinner Imran Tahir dismissed the lower order, with figures of 4 for 58.
With both Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) and Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) having already qualified for the quadrangular stage of the Patrons Trophy, WAPDA utilised the entire third day for batting practice, at Rawalpindi on Sunday. WAPDA resumed at their overnight score of 108 for 1 and finished at 355 yesterday with one wicket remaining.
After the first day on Friday was completely washed out and only 53 overs was possible the following day. Sialkot's Masood Asim top-scored for WAPDA with 83 off 294 balls with ten fours. His second-wicket stand with Aamer Sajjad (45) produced 73 runs and the third-wicket partnership with Jahangir Mirza (46) fetched another 82.
Aamer's 45 took only 88 balls with four fours and a six while Jahangir made his 46 off 102 balls with five fours and a six. Later, the in-form Bilal Khilji chipped in with 49 off 85 deliveries with eight boundaries. For KRL, seamer Abdur Rauf and offspinner Saeed Ajmal captured four wickets each for 59 and 114 runs, respectively.
Although points are of no consequence in this match, the two teams might try to infuse some interest on the final day today trying at least to gain a first innings lead.