Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, 5th round, 3rd day February 4, 2007

Multan and Abbottabad fight for place in Silver League final

Gold League

Babar Naeem's efforts failed to help Rawalpindi avert the follow-on against Karachi Urban, on the third day of their Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Cricket Championship Gold League match at Karachi.

Rawalpindi, who are leading the Gold League points table, needed to reach a first-innings score of 357 in reply to Karachi Urban's declaration at 506 for 5 in order to avoid batting again. They were all out for 351 and then at stumps were following on at 63 for 2.

Naeem's 182 - his first century in three years - with 32 fours and two sixes was not enough. Rawalpindi resumed at their overnight score of 122 for 3, 384 runs behind Karachi Urban. The only partnership of substance that Naeem got was with Mohammad Wasim, the Rawalpindi captain, as the two added 144 for the fifth wicket.

Tahir Khan, with 5 for 112, and Azam Hussain, with 4 for 94, kept Rawalpindi in check. Naeem hammered 49 off 56 balls before being dismissed on the last ball of the day in the second innings.

Karachi Urban, however, need to beat Rawalpindi outright to displace them from the top of the table. Karachi Urban have 15 points and Rawalpindi 21. If Rawalpindi draw the match then Karachi will only get three first-innings points and remain at number three in the seven-team table.

Lahore Shalimar were forced to follow on after being bowled out for 170 in reply to Sialkot's first-innings score of 384 at the Jinnah Stadium in Sialkot. But at stumps Lahore Shalimar needed only 16 runs more to make Sialkot bat again.

Sialkot require an outright win here to get the full nine points and keep in sight of the Gold League final and retain their title. They have 12 points from their first three matches and are currently placed at number five in the seven-team ranking.

On day three, Lahore Shalimar added only 31 more to their first-innings score as Tahir Mughal and Kashif Raza took the last four wickets inside 12 overs. Mughal got an innings total of 6 for 77 while Raza for 3 for 50.

Following on 214 behind, Lahore Shalimar had raised their position somewhat with 198 for 3 at stumps.

Ahmed Shahzad, the Lahore Shalimar opener, made his second half-century in the match following his first-innings 52 with 67 off 116 balls. Shahzad's opening partnership with Salman Butt, the Lahore Shalimar opener, was worth 123 runs.

Faisalabad beat Peshawar by seven wickets and lifted themselves from the bottom position in the Gold League at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad.

Faisalabad, who had gained a 30-run first innings lead over Peshawar added four more to their overnight score of 245 for 9. Peshawar were then bowled out for a pathetic 105 inside 36 overs in their second innings.

Faisalabad scored off the 72 needed to win in 17 overs for the loss of three wickets. They stumbled at 19 for 3 but then Taqueer Hussain took them to victory smashing an unbeaten 38 off 35 balls.

Earlier, Ahmed Hayat, Faisalabad's right-arm fast-medium bowler, ran through the Peshawar batting and returned figures of 5 for 20 runs in 10 overs. Peshawar looked steady at 82 for 2 but then there last eight wickets fell for 23 runs. Only three batsmen - Mohammad Fayyaz, 46, Aftab Alam, 25, and Rafatullah Mohmand, 10 - reached double figures for Peshawar.

Peshawar have now lost three consecutive matches after having started with two wins. Their points tally still stands at 18. With only one more match remaining - against Lahore Shalimar - Peshawar are not in contention for the final now.

Faisalabad gained their first win in four matches and the nine points they now have put them above Lahore Shalimar in the seven-team Gold League table. The latter are now faced with the threat of being relegated to the Silver League next season.

Silver League

Hyderabad got a lead of 177 with two wickets remaining in their second innings against Quetta in their Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Cricket Championship Silver League match at the Niaz Stadium in Hyderabad after they batted through the third day and compiled a score of 274 for 8.

Faisal Athar, the Hyderabad captain, hit the 12th century of his first-class career, after Hyderabad resumed at their overnight 37 for 1. On day two Quetta had gained a first-innings lead of 97 by making an impressive 290. Neither side, though, is in a position to qualify for the Silver League final.

Athar made 117 off 207 balls adding 88 with Pir Zulfiqar (35) for the second wicket and 84 with Hanif-ur-Rehman (54) for the third.

Six Hyderabad wickets then fell with 90 as Jalat Khan, Quetta's right-arm medium bowler, ended 4 for 35 from 21 overs.

In spite of having gained a first-innings lead of 152 over Lahore Ravi, Abbottabad are still uncertain of reaching the Silver League final after Lahore Ravi piled on 323 for the loss of nine wickets in their second innings at the Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) Ground.

Lahore Ravi, having resumed at their overnight 72 for 1 with a deficit of 80 runs, batted through the day to take a lead of 171.

The Lahore batsmen batted consistently, though only Rizwan Aslam crossed fifty. His fourth-wicket stand with Rizwan Malik (32) produced 87 runs.

Junaid Khan, Abbottbad's left-arm medium-fast bowler, got 3 for 74 and Amjad Waqas, a slow left-arm orthodox bowler, got 2 for 22.

Multan were set a target of 644 after Islamabad declared their second innings at 482 for 6 at the Diamond Club Cricket Ground in Islamabad.

Azhar Mahmood followed his first innings 105 with 169 in Islamabad's second innings making his first-class career's eighth hundred and also crossing 6000 runs in 142 matches. Mahmood added 306 with Bilal Asad for the fourth wicket. While Mahmood's 169 came off 197 balls with 24 fours and five sixes, Asad's 146 took 248 balls with 16 fours. Multan were 6 for 0 at stumps.

Islamabad with the full 36 points from their previous four matches have already qualified for the Silver League final. If Lahore Ravi defeat Abbottabad in Lahore then Multan will join Islamabad in the final.