Islamabad take first-innings lead against Hyderabad
Fresh from their eight-wicket win over table leaders Peshawar last Sunday, Karachi Harbour started impressively against Lahore Shalimar by reaching 282 for 5 on the opening day of their fourth-round Gold League match at the Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday.
Karachi Harbour's first three wickets fell for 46 after they had been put in. Then, captain Naumanullah and Akbar Rehman, one of their newer recruits, steadied the innings with a 54-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
Following a fifth wicket stand of 55, Karachi Harbour's sixth-wicket pair added an unbeaten 127 runs that took them to stumps. Fahad Iqbal was 71 not out off 187 balls with 10 fours while wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed was unbeaten on 69 off 123 balls with seven fours and a six.
Naumanullah was characteristically swift in making 38 runs off 54 balls with eight boundaries. Akbar, playing in his third first-class match, scored his first half-century. His 53 came off 89 balls with 10 fours.
Contrary to what the figures might suggest, Lahore Shalimar's left-arm seamer Jamshed Ahmed bowled well, taking 3 for 55 in 23 overs. Mohammad Khalil took 2 for 53.
While Karachi Harbour are number four in the Gold League, with nine points from their only win in three matches so far, Lahore Shalimar are at number six with a tally of just three points from two appearances.
Peshawar were bowled out for 200 on the opening day of their fourth round match against defending champions Sialkot at the Arbab Niaz Stadium on Wednesday.
After they had been asked to bat, Peshawar were undone by the Sialkot fast bowling quartet, of which Tahir Mughal finished with figures of 5 for 56. Tahir, who played a match for Durham as cover for an injured Shoaib Akhtar in 2004, also picked up his 400th wicket in his 85th first-class match.
No one crossed fifty in Peshawar's innings. Opener Aftab Khan made 41 off 67 balls with five fours. Allrounder Jannisar Khan contributed 37 off 51 deliveries with seven fours. The last seven wickets fell for just 77 runs.
By the close of play, the Sialkot openers had added 17 runs in seven overs without being separated. Earlier, Tahir was ably assisted by Asim Butt who captured 3 for 61. Last season's champions Sialkot have only six points from their previous two matches. They are currently fifth and need to win here if they are to retain their national title.
Peshawar -- champions in 1998-99 and 2004-05 -- head the Gold League table with 18 points. After their two wins, however, they were defeated by Karachi Harbour in their third match last Sunday.
Last season's runners-up and the 2003-04 champions Faisalabad shared the first day's honours with Rawalpindi at the Iqbal Stadium on Wednesday.
Faisalabad captain Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and asked Rawalpindi to bat. They batted in fits and starts and by the end had a score of 239 to show for their efforts. Faisalabad, meanwhile, captured eight wickets.
After Ahmed Hayat had snared the first two batsmen cheaply, opener Babar Naeem and Naved Ashraf put on 87 for the third wicket.
Babar top-scored with 55 off 106 balls with nine fours and a six. Naved scored 35 off 79 balls with four fours. Captain Mohammad Wasim held his end up, but Rawalpindi were six down with only 143 runs on the board.
Sohail Tanvir then struck 53 off 99 balls with five fours in a brisk seventh-wicket stand of 76. Wasim was unbeaten on 51 off 158 balls in just over three and a half hours with eight fours.
Ahmed Hayat was Faisalabad's most successful bowler with 3 for 31. Asad Ali and offspinner Saeed Ajmal captured 2 for 56 and 2 for 53 respectively.
While Rawalpindi are placed third in the Gold League table with 12 points from three matches, Faisalabad are currently at rock bottom. They didn't gain any points in their previous two appearances.
Table leaders Islamabad took another step towards qualifying for the Silver League final and, promotion to next season's Gold League, as they took the first-innings lead by stumps on the opening day against Hyderabad at the Mirpur Cricket Stadium .
After Hyderabad had opted to bat, they were shot out for106 by Islamabad's pace attack, which included skipper Rao Iftikhar. By the close, Islamabad had reached 116 for 3 thanks to a sound start of 76 runs. They are now 10 runs ahead with seven wickets in hand.
Islamabad had Hyderabad at 37 for 5 at one stage. The only batsman to cross 20 was Nasir Awais, who remained unbeaten with 25 off 33 balls with three fours. Rao Iftikhar took 3 for 38 but Zohaib Ahmed finished with 4 for 31.
Afaq Rahim, who scored 37 off 57 balls with three fours, and Atif Ashraf, with 54 runs off 72 deliveries, got Islamabad off to a brisk start. Opening bowler Farhan Ayub then captured all three wickets to fall.
With a 100% record that's fetched them the full 27 points from three matches, Islamabad head the Silver League table. Hyderabad have nine points from their previous three games.
Ali Azmat struck a brilliant unbeaten 92 and opener Rizwan Malik hit a polished 80 as Lahore Ravi reached 331 for 6 on the opening day of their Silver League match against Quetta on Wednesday at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground .
At stumps, Azmat was eight runs away from his maiden first-class century and Waqas Ahmad was unbeaten on 11 after Lahore Ravi were asked to bat
Azmat entertained with thrilling stroke play, smashing 13 fours off 136 balls after Rizwan and Adnan Raza (34) had produced 98 runs for the third wicket. Rizwan hit 12 fours in a 156-ball innings.
Azmat and wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal, who scored 52, added 111 runs for the sixth wicket to keep a listless Quettta attack under fire. Medium pacer Arun Lal and offspinner Naseer Khan captured two wickets each for Quetta.
Pakistan allrounder Abdul Razzaq appeared for Lahore Ravi and scored 15 runs off 19 balls with two fours. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had asked for his fitness to be checked before he is sent to South Africa.
Quetta are fifth in the Silver League table with no points from two defeats and a draw. Lahore Ravi are languishing at the bottom, having lost all their previous three matches.
Multan dismissed Abbottabad for 237 on the opening day at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. By stumps, they had lost one wicket in reply -- that of captain Saeed Anwar junior -- while putting up 24 runs on the board.
Fast-bowler Azharullah and offspinner Majid Majeed picked up three wickets each for Multan. Abbottabad, who were put in first, were 89 for 6 at one stage. The experienced Bilal Marwat and youngster Riaz Kail added 77 for the seventh wicket. Bilal's 54 came off 104 balls with nine fours.
Riaz remained unbeaten till the end with 82 off 173 balls with five fours and a six. His last-wicket stand with Junaid Khan (25) was worth 45 runs.
Multan, who have 21 points from three matches and are placed second in the Silver League table behind Islamabad.