Sialkot register emphatic victory
Sialkot defeated Faisalabad emphatically by nine wickets at the Jinnah Stadium on Monday. Atiq-ur-Rehman scored 108 to steer his side to victory. Atiq, who had given his team a 130-run start on the penultimate day in barely 99 minutes with Imran Nazir, scored only the second century of his first-class career. His unbeaten 108 came off 154 balls with 10 fours and two sixes. Shahid Yousuf (38*) helped Atiq add 97 for the second wicket.
Sialkot, however, managed to collect only six points as they had earlier conceded a 28-run first-innings lead to Faisalabad. Sialkot now meet Rawalpindi in their third round match at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi. Faisalabad, with no points from their two games so far, have a rest until January 24 when the fourth round gets under way.
Rawalpindi beat Karachi Harbour by 50 runs to collect the full nine points from this victory at the Pindi Cricket Stadium. Requiring 259 to win, Karachi Harbour were bowled out for 208 in their second innings after resuming on 149 for 6. Allrounder Yasir Arafat captured five wickets for 67 runs. He was well supported by left-arm seamers Sohail Tanvir (3-43) and Najaf Shah (2-49). Karachi's Rizwan Saeed resisted with 41 off 45 balls.
In their third-round match, starting on January 18, Rawalpindi will play against last season's champions Sialkot at the same venue. From the same day, Karachi Harbour begin their next match against Peshawar at the Arbab Niaz Stadium.
Openers Aftab Khan and Rafatullah Mohmand cracked solid half-centuries to help Peshawar notch up their second successive win when they beat Karachi Urban by five wickets on the final day at the National Stadium. Aftab, following his 53 in the first innings, hit 81 with 11 boundaries off 174 balls in and Rafatullah got 66 with 10 fours off 112 balls as Peshawar reached the target just before tea.
Aftab and Rafatullah gave the team a superb start of 118 in only 148 minutes. Aftab gave an unblemished display of batting while Rafatullah went on dauntless after being dropped on 43 by Hasan Raza off Nauman Alvi. Jannisar Khan, promoted to the number three spot, blasted 37 with seven boundaries. His second-wicket stand with Aftab was worth 77. Slow left-arm spinner Alvi picked up three late wickets as Peshawar slumped from 204 for 2 to 218 for 5. But they cruised to victory through first-innings hero Wajahatullah Wasti and Aslam Qureshi. By mustering another nine points, Peshawar raised their points tally to 18 in two matches and are on top of the Gold League table.
Karachi Urban will now play against Lahore Shalimar at the same venue, with their third round match starting from January 18. Peshawar meet Karachi Harbour on the same day at the Arbab Niaz Stadium in Peshawar.
In an amazing turnaround, Abbottabad gave a great display of their batting as they humbled Hyderabad to win by four wickets at the Niaz Stadium. In a match written off as a dull draw on the penultimate day, Hyderabad captain Faisal Athar declared the second innings at 249 for 6. Abbottabad took up the challenge, making 253 to win in a mere 33.1 overs, scoring at a breathtaking rate of above 7.6 runs an over.
Adnan Raees, the first-innings centurion, starred again in the second innings, making 86. After Abbottabad lost their first two wickets with only 43 on board, he added 102 with Bilal Marwat (56). Ahmed Said (41) and Raees then 50 for the fifth wicket, before Riaz Kail and Sajid Shah knocked off the remaining runs.
Abbottabad will now play against Quetta at the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) Stadium in Rawalpindi while Hyderabad meet Multan on the same day at the Multan Cricket Stadium.
Islamabad reached the top of the Silver League table with yet another innings win, this time against Quetta on the Tendulkar penultimate day at the Diamond Club ground. Islamabad defeated Abbottabad by an innings in the opener played on the same ground and yesterday won their second-successive match, beating Quetta by innings and 125 runs.
Resuming at the overnight score of 2 for 1, Quetta were bowled out for 294 in their second innings minutes before the scheduled close of the third day's play. Captain Rao Iftikhar Anjum picked up 5 for 97 to gain the maximum nine points for Islamabad.
Azhar Mahmood with 2 for 66 and debutant slow left-armer Imad Wasim (2 for 63) also played their part in the Islamabad win. Shoaib Khan yet again played the best innings for the visitors, striking 11 fours and a six on his way to get 71 -- his second successive fifty in the match. Sabir Hussain (64) and Shaukat Ali (43) also chipped in but no batsman stayed long enough to pose any threat to the Islamabad bowlers.
With two successive victories, Islamabad now have 18 points.
Multan comprehensively defeated Lahore Ravi by nine wickets at the Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) Ground. Multan chasing a modest target of 122 started their knock at the overnight score of 35 for 1 and reached 124 in 32.4 overs. Multan, which suffered relegation to the Silver League from last season, have soared to the top of the Silver League table with two wins and the full 18 points.
Wicketkeeper Atiq Ahmed steered Multan to the target with an unbeaten 52 with seven fours off 96 balls, and it was his maiden first-class half-century. The other overnight batsman Usman Tariq progressed to an unbeaten 43.
Multan will now meet Hyderabad at the Multan Cricket Stadium in their third round match while Lahore Ravi will stay in Lahore to play Islamabad. Islamabad, with innings wins over Abbottabad and Quetta, too have 18 points to their credit but Multan have a superior net run-rate as compared to theirs.