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December 14, 2007
After having won the toss and opted to bat, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) were bowled out for a modest 200 runs at Asghar Ali Shah Stadium. By close, Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) were 63 for 3, after having been reduced to 29 for 3. Sohail Khan was once again the star for SSGC and carried on with his good form in his debut season by taking career-best figures of 7 for 80 to demolish WAPDA. The 23-year-old also became the first bowler this season to pass the 50-wicket mark and now boasts a tally of 56 wickets from nine matches. Nawaz Sardar was WAPDA's top scorer with 53 off 81 balls as the innings was wrapped up in 61 overs. Sarfraz Ahmed did cause panic among the SSGC batsmen by grabbing three quick wickets, but Ashraf Ali and captain Atiq-uz-Zaman ensured SSGC didn't squander the advantage.
Faced with a must-win situation in order to have a chance of making it to the final, Habib Bank Limited (HBL) did well to restrict National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) to 207 for 6 at NBP Sports Complex. After having been put in, NBP were in dire straits at 98 for 5 but wicketkeeper Rashid Riaz (73) shared a 108-run sixth-wicket partnership with Qaiser Abbas (54*) to take his side past 200. Mohammad Aslam picked up 3 for 75 while Humayun Farhat took four catches behind the stumps.
Lahore Ravi to skittled Sialkot, national champions in 2005-06 and runners-up last season, for a paltry 88 in their first-innings at Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) Ground. In reply, Lahore managed to reach 146 for 7 at close despite having lost all those wickets before even reaching Sialkot's total. Put in to bat, Sialkot were flattened by Junaid Zia (6 for 30) and Waqas Ahmed (4 for 48) as they bowled unchanged for 26 overs. Faisal Khan top scored with a quick 35 while the rest of the batsmen failed to contribute much to the total. For Sialkot, the three Mohammads - Wasim, Imran and Ali - wreaked havoc in the Lahore line-up with frequent breakthroughs. Waqas, however, shone with the bat and smashed an unbeaten 41 to take his team past Sialkot's total - gaining three points for the first-innings lead in the process - while sharing an unbroken 59-run partnership with Shahbaz Butt.
Hyderabad, placed at No. 10 in the group, did well to score 260 for 4 against Multan at Multan Cricket Stadium. Fresh from a maiden hundred in the previous match, Azeem Ghumon, the 16-year-old opener, missed his second by four runs, with his 96 coming off 262 balls with eight fours. Azeem's second-wicket partnership with Faisal Athar (65) yielded 100 runs after Hyderabad had lost their first wicket with only nine on the board. Ghumon went on to add 103 with Rizwan Ahmed (58) for the third wicket as Multan bowlers were made to suffer after Abdur Rauf elected to field.
Pakistan Customs were lifted by an unbroken 121-run fourth-wicket partnership between Asif Iqbal and Zahoor Elahi as they reached 223 for 3 against Karachi Whites at National Stadium. Asim Kamal's decision to put Customs into bat first seemed to pay off instantly as Karachi picked up the first wicket with only 18 on board. However, a 78-run partnership followed by the unbroken stand took Customs past 200. Iqbal's 94 came off 206 deliveries while Elahi, a former Pakistan international, took 102 balls for his 74.
Samiullah Khan sent Lahore Shalimar crashing to 162 all out with a seven-wicket haul at the Gaddafi Stadium. In reply, Sui Northern Gas Pakistan Limited (SNGPL) had reduced the deficit by 78 runs while losing two wickets. Samiullah had Lahore reeling at 71 for 6 before Mohammad Hussain scored a fighting unbeaten 52 off 106 balls to add valuable runs to the total. Khan finished with 7 for 82, providing SNGPL's batsmen a splendid opportunity to press for a huge first-innings lead.
Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) dismissed Karachi Blues for a modest 188 at United Bank Limited Sports Complex and had reached 15 without loss at stumps. Karachi opted to bat but Kashif Daud struck to have them reeling at 95 for 7. Ali Asad's 65 and useful 30s from the lower-order batsmen ensured a recovery Mansoor Khan (38) and Azam Hussain (39) put on 63 runs for the eighth wicket. For ZTBL, Zohaib Khan bagged four wickets for 58 runs while Daud finished with best figures of 5 for 37.
At Diamond Club Ground, bottom-placed Quetta made a useful 243 for 9 by close against Islamabad. Rauf Akbar's did well to restrict Quetta to 118 for 6 but Faisal Irfan's 50 and Nazar Hussain's unbeaten 29 took them past 200. Akbar ended the day with figures of 5 for 65.
Peshawar scraped their way to 134 for 6 on a weather-affected day against Rawalpindi at the Arbab Niaz Stadium after opting to bat. Seven of the eight batsmen so far have reached double figures but none went on to make an impact as the top score was 36 in a poor batting performance by the home team.
The first day's play at Abbottabad Cricket Stadium between Abbottabad and Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) was totally washed out due to rain and bad weather.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough