Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, 7th round, 3rd day February 15, 2007

Lahore Shalimar relegated as Sialkot book place in final

Sialkot lost some ground to Karachi Harbour, conceding a lead of 216 runs but this should not bother them inordinately as they are assured of a place in the final irrespective of the outcome of the current match played at the United Bank Limited Sports Complex in Karachi.

Karachi Harbour, who had a 71-run lead when the third day began, pressed on, and reached 145 for 3 in their second innings. The highlight, undoubtedly, was the 225-ball 46 from Sialkot's Tariq Mahmood. Sialkot managed 222 after their last three wickets added 77. In response Khalid Latif of Karachi batted one over short of 200 balls for his 58 while Fawad Alam stayed unbeaten on 43. Karachi Harbour, who ended the day on 145 for 3, can rest easy, for they have been saved the prospect of avoiding relegation by Lahore Shalimar, who have already taken the downward plunge.

Lahore Shalimar have been relegated to the Silver League after their last match of the league stage against Peshawar was abandoned without a ball being bowled in three days. Bad light and rain combined to make play impossible, and the game at the Arbab Niaz Stadium was called off with a day left to play. This means that Lahore Shalimar are officially relegated while Peshawar, who were champions in 1998-99 and 2004-05, finished in fifth place.

Karachi Urban were left in tatters by the offspin bowling of Saaed Ajmal in their second innings, but still managed to set Faisalabad a target of 313 runs, and managed to pick up three vital wickets at the end of the third day of their Quaid-e-Azam Gold League match at the National Stadium in Karachi. Although Karachi Urban could muster only 158 in their second innings, their first-innings lead of 154 put them in a position of strength. It was a lead that would be crucial as Karachi Urban fell prey to the wiles of Ajmal, the 29-year-old offspinner, who took 6 for 49, helped along by the mediumpace of Asad Ali (3 for 48). By the end of the day, however, Karachi were back on top as Faisalabad had lost three wickets for 37 runs and were still 276 short of the target. Faisalabad need a win, which looks improbable at this stage, to book themselves a place in the final against Sialkot.