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November 7, 2007
An 87-run partnership between Ammar Mahmood and Imran Ahmed enabled Faisalabad to reach a respectable 243 for 8 after being put into bat by Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) at the Iqbal Stadium. Adopting a defensive strategy against the bowlers, both batsmen took their time scoring and it was only a late flurry of wickets - Faisalabad losing 3 wickets without any addition to the score - that left them struggling to reach the 300-mark against a disciplined WAPDA bowling attack. Kashif Raza, the right-arm medium pacer, was the pick of the bowlers, grabbing three wickets while Azharullah and Aqeel Ahmed grabbed a brace each.
Reaching 34 for 1 after skittling out Hyderabad for 227 in their first innings, Sui Southern Gas Corporation (SSGC) ended the opening day with the upper hand as they trail by only 193 runs here at the Iqbal Stadium. The home side never really recovered after losing their first wicket without any score as Sohail Kahn (4 for 68), with useful contributions from the other bowlers, created pressure that brought regular breakthroughs. Although Pir Zulfiqar and Kashif Bhatti did add a valuable 81 for the eighth wicket, SSGC's smart bowling changes paid dividends in dismissing their opponents cheaply.
A five-wicket haul by Mohammad Wasim, Sialkot's young fast-bowler, restricted Karachi Whites to a modest 242 for 8, a total only possible due to grinding knocks by Javed Mansoor (72 off 168) and Test-discard Asim Kamal (62 off 99) at the UBL Sports Complex in Karachi. With half the side back in the pavillion for only 78 after Mohammad Sami won the toss and elected to bat, Kamal added 67 for the sixth wicket and Mansoor's unbeaten 74-run ninth-wicket partnership with Misbah Khan took the hosts past 200 after three quick wickets. Wasim, playing only his fourth first-class match, picked up three of the first five wickets to fall and returned to capture two more to place his side in a driving position.
Thirteen wickets fell in just under 65 overs at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground as Lahore Ravi finished on 61 for 3, only 51 runs being Pakistan Customs' first-innings score of 112. Junaid Zia inspired a late-order collapse that saw the visitors lose their last four wickets for only five runs as none of the batsmen managed to make any impact. Asif Iqbal top-scored with a patient 27 as Zia captured 6 for 34 to leave Customs in dire straits. The tourists, however, did hit back to have Ravi's opener dismissed without scoring. Two late wickets by Sajjad Hussain alowed his side a mini fightback as they defend their paltry total on the second day.
Multan were left ruing their decision to field first at the Gymkhana Ground as centuries by Rashid Riaz and Naumanullah guided National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) to a healthy 307 for 1. A solid opening partnership for NBP saw Riaz add 60 with Nasir Jamshed but after Jamshed's dismissal for 37, Multan failed to pick up any more wickets even as they tried eight different bowlers. With the likes of Shahid Yousuf, Naved Latif and Mansoor Amjad to follow, Abdur Rauf, Multan captain, has a massive job on his hands to restrict NBP to a first-innings total that his team can match and avoid a huge loss.
Former internationals Abdul Razzaq and Mohammad Khalil tore through the Islamabad batting lineup and skittled the hosts out for only 95 in only 28 overs at the Diamond Club Ground. Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, in reply, scored 118 for 5 at close, a lead of 23 on only the first day of the match. Islamabad's innings got off to a disastrous start as both openers fell without scoring after Razzaq won the toss and elected to field. Razzaq (4 for 38) and Khalil (6 for 45) bowled unchanged throughout the Islamabad's innings and sparked a collapse that saw the hosts all out after being well-placed at 53 for 2 at one stage. Rauf Akbar and Shehzad Azam hit back with two wickets apiece later on in the day but Islamabad will need a huge effort from all its bowlers to have any chance of salvaging a draw, or a win, in the match.
A late-order fightback by Mohammad Hussain and Ali Raza allowed some respectability to Lahore Shalimar's total against Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) at the Gadaffi Stadium as they reached 201 for 6 at close. Hussain (50*) and Raza (62*) came together at the score of 92 as KRL enjoyed its decision to field first after winning the toss. The tourists employed eight different bowlers to capitalise on the good start given by Yasir Arafat and Jaffar Nazir but Hussain and Raza mixed aggression with defence to guide their team past 200, a total that looked impossible at one stage in the innings.
An Inamullah-inspired collapse helped Peshawar dismiss Pakistan International Airlines for 229 - the tourists were well-placed at 194 for 4 at one stage - at the Arbab Niaz Stadium. A couple of minor collapses did set back PIA's progress early on but a century partnership between Shoaib Khan (68) and Fahad Iqbal (54) set them up for a huge total before Inamullah initiated a flurry of wickets. Peshawar openers safely negotiated the seven deliveries before close and scored two off it to get their reply underway.
An aggressive 255-run partnership between Shoaib Khan and Nasim Khan guided Quetta to 355 for 4 against Abbottabad at the Bugti Stadium. Coming together at 100 for 4 after a decent performance by the touring bowlers, Shoaib (165*) and Nasim (135*) flayed the same bowlers to all parts of the ground as they hit 33 fours between them. Abbottabad tried eight bowlers to unsettle the partnership but failed to add to the four early wickets as the home side look all set to build a huge first-innings total.
Saleem Mughal and Khurram Shehzad added 118 runs for the fifth wicket as Sui Northern Gas Pipelines reached 249 for 4 against Rawalpindi at the KRL Ground. Umar Akmal (61 off 83) led his side to to 119 for 3 before Yasir Ali picked up two quick wickets to leave the northerners in a state of bother. Mughal and Shehzad, however, safely played out what the Rawalpindi bowlers offered to place their team in a driving position at close.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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