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January 13, 2007
Defending champions Sialkot suffered a setback as they conceded a crucial 28-run first-innings lead to Faisalabad, but then by stumps on the second day they struck hard to swing right back into the game. Having resumed at their overnight 26 for 1, Sialkot were soon tottering at 36 for 4. Then came a characteristically belligerent knock of 72 by their captain Imran Nazir, who had retired hurt on Friday afternoon. Nazir returned to hammer his runs off a mere 97 balls with 10 fours and a six. Later, Shahzad Malik hit 52 off 81 balls with eight fours while wicketkeeper Haafiz Khalid remained unbeaten with 37.
But Sialkot were dismissed for a modest 222 that gave Faisalabad a 28-run lead. Faisalabad then lost four wickets for 58 runs, which leaves them only 86 ahead with six wickets in hand. Three of their batsmen later on failed to score, but opener Imran Ali hung on with an unbeaten 41, off 78 balls.
Left-arm seamer Waqar Ahmed and former Test opener Wajahatullah Wasti produced splendid bowling and batting performances, respectively, as Peshawar got an important 46-run first innings lead against Karachi Urban, at the National Stadium.
Peshawar, responding to Karachi Urban's first-innings score of 214, were bowled out for 260 in the 81st over just before stumps. Wajahatullah, batting with confidence, scored an unbeaten 81 off 158 balls in a little over four hours and opener Aftab Khan earlier hit nine boundaries in his 53. Karachi Urban were in with a chance to get the first-innings lead after Peshawar were reeling at 115 for 6 at one stage with offspinner Tahir Khan picking up four important wickets.
But Wajahatullah held the batting together with three valuable partnerships with the tail-enders. He first put on 44 for the seventh wicket with Mohammad Aslam (21) and added another 48 for the eighth wicket with captain Arshad Khan, who contributed 31. The last wicket stand was worth 30.
Earlier, Waqar caused the slide in Karachi's batting with the second new ball with three quick wickets. He bowled Imran Javed with the first delivery with the new ball for 52. Waqar later added the wickets of Tanvir Ahmed and Nauman Alvi. Waqar ended with 6 for 50 while fellow paceman Riaz Afridi got 3 for 37.
Rawalpindi gained an overall lead of 148 over Karachi Harbour with five second-innings wickets in hand, as the match entered an interesting phase after the second day at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.
Rawalpindi shot Karachi Harbour out for 149 in their first innings after the visitors had resumed on their overnight 35 for 2. They thus collected a crucial 26-run lead and then the home side finished the day on 122 for 5. Fawad Alam was the top-scorer with 48 in the Karachi Harbour first innings. He got some support from Akbar Rehman who scored 32. The left-arm pace duo of Najaf Shah and Sohail Tanvir led the bowling attack for Rawalpindi with three wickets each. Allrounder Yasir Arafat and seamer Rizwan Akbar claimed two wickets each. Opener Babar Naeem hammered a brisk 50 off 59 balls with six fours and two sixes for Rawalpindi while Naved Ashraf contributed 33 off 50 balls with five fours and one six. Karachi's pace spearhead Anwar Ali captured 3 for 51, bringing his match haul to nine wickets so far.
Bilal Khilji hit a crispy unbeaten 110 and Azhar Shafiq added a solid 74 as Multan reached 269 for 8 in 64 overs in their first innings against Lahore Ravi at the Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) Ground on Saturday. Bilal gave ample proof of his batting talent with his fourth first-class hundred, striking 11 boundaries in an absorbing knock off 178 balls as Azhar also entertained with a lively innings.
Bilal together with Azhar added 133 for the third wicket to lift their side out of sheer gloom after they were 1 for 1 and then 12 for two. The stand was broken with the departure of Azhar leg-before by paceman Wasim Khan who has done the major damage with hostile bowling taking five wickets for 79 runs in 20 overs. Azhar hammered 16 fours in his 102-ball innings. Multan lost four wickets with only eight runs added therafter. Bilal and Imranullah Aslam then added 75 for the seventh wicket.
Earlier, Multan paceman Azharullah finished with figures of 5 for 46 in 22 overs. Ali Azmat, 75 overnight, perished at 84, made off 134 balls with 12 fours.
Islamabad put the Quetta bowling to the sword to collect a massive 419-run first innings lead, at the Diamond Club Ground in Islamabad. Replying to Quetta's poor first innings total of 161, the home side piled up 580 in 122.3 overs after resuming at their overnight 185 for three. Islamabad's last-wicket pair of Fakhir Hussain and Zohaib Ahmed plundered 107. Fakhir hit 54 with nine fours and a six while Zohaib Ahmed picked up 52 with nine fours. The other notable contributors with the bat were Imad Wasim with his 88, Ashar Zaidi 48 and Azhar Mahmood 57.
However the top scorer of the day was Naeem Anjum, the wicketkeeper, who scored 83 with a 12 boundaries. The main wicket-taker for Quetta was off-spinner Naseer Khan with his 6 for 174. Left-arm spinner Jalat Khan finished with 3 for 114. Quetta lost Jalat Khan, who was dismissed by Rao Iftikhar. Hameedullah Khan and Yasir Majeed were at the crease.
Allrounder Rizwan Ahmed scored his second century in successive matches, as Hyderabad compiled an exact 400 against Abbottabad at the Niaz Stadium on Saturday. At stumps, Abbottabad replied with a resolute 168 for the loss of four wickets. They were still 232 behind Hyderabad, but first they need to reach a score of 251 to avert the follow-on.
Rizwan's 119 came off 250 balls with eight fours and a six. Shahid Qambrani hit 10 fours and two sixes in his 87 as he and Rizwan took their fourth-wicket stand to 147 after Hyderabad resumed at their overnight 282 for 3. Legspinner Dilawar Khan then saw to it that Hyderabad didn't capitalise on that situation by taking four wickets for 121 runs. Slow left-armer Amjad Waqas finished with figures of 3 for 93. Abbottabad's Adnan Raees is still at the crease with an unbeaten 52 to his name, that came off 125 deliveries with five fours.
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