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December 14, 2007
The final-round matches of the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy have been curtailed and postponed indefinitely following the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on Thursday. Zakir Khan, PCB's director cricket operations, told Dawn that: "There will be no play in the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy from Friday due to the awful incident in Rawalpindi [the assassination]. The changes in the programme will be announced later."
Wahab Riaz inspired National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) to a 107-run victory over Sialkot in their first-round replay match at the Multan Cricket Stadium but the win might not be enough to take them to the final. Riaz, the left-arm medium-fast bowler, captured 10 wickets in the match as NBP bowled Sialkot out for 259 runs in their second innings. Chasing 366 for victory, several Sialkot batsmen contributed but none went on to make a big score as a batting collapse towards the end saw them lose their their last four wickets for only seven runs. Haris Sohail scored his second half-century of the match and his 58 came off 118 balls with nine fours and a six. Haris helped Adeel Malik (49 off 40 balls) add 92 for the fifth wicket. The first-round match between these two teams, which saw play only on parts of the first two days on October 20 and 21, had to be abandoned because of the unplayable condition of the Jinnah Stadium pitch.
At Iqbal Stadium, Lahore Ravi dismissed Faisalabad for 449 and ended day two on 155 for 3. Ijaz Ahmed (junior) was the main architect of the big Faisalabad total and scored 174, his 30th first-class century, with the help of 23 fours and two sixes. Asad Zarar contributed 80 off just 67 balls with 12 fours and two sixes before leg-spinner Imran Haider wrapped up the innings with six wickets. Lahore's openers put on a 54-run partnership in a solid start as useful contribution from all batsmen presented the visitors an ideal opportunity to match Faisalabad's total.
Habib Bank Limited (HBL) were just one wicket away from attaining a big first innings lead over Karachi Whites as, after scoring an impressive 404, they restricted the home side to 164 for 9 at close at the United Bank Limited Sports Complex. Devastating bowling by left-arm fast-medium Kamran Hussain and the right-arm fast-bowler Fahad Masood left Karachi reeling at 37 for 6 at one stage. A 104-run seventh-wicket partnership between Afsar Nawaz and debutant Faraz Ahmed helped them raise their morale somewhat. Afsar's 66 came off 143 balls with six boundaries while Faraz made 44 off 113 deliveries. Masood captured five wickets for 42 runs and Hussain picked up four for 37.
Faisal Athar hit an unbeaten 114 as Hyderabad scored 207 for 1 against Pakistan Customs on the second day at Niaz Stadium. With the first day washed out, Athar scored his 13th first-class century helping Hyderabad overcome opener Azeem Ghumman's early loss with an unbroken 182-run partnership for the second wicket with Aqeel Anjum (73*).
Umar Akmal continued his excellent season, scoring a majestic unbeaten 186 and sharing a 238-run second-wicket partnership with Mohammad Hafeez (163) as Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) sized up a mammoth 451 for 3 in reply to Quetta's 195 at Gaddafi Stadium. Akmal, Test keeper Kamran's younger brother, has already scored 849 runs this season at an astonoshing average of 91.48. His 186 came off only 170 balls with 20 fours and four sixes as his team opted for batting practice in their last group match before featuring in the final of the tournament. Hafeez's hand came off 265 balls, before Test star Misbah-ul-Haq (32*) helped Akmal add a further 81 runs unbroken for the fourth wicket.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) lifted themselves from a precarious 93 for 5 thanks to Sarfraz Ahmed's 76 and reached 201 for 7 by close against Karachi Blues at the National Stadium. With right-arm medium-fast bowler Faraz Ahmed Khan taking three quick wickets, including those of Yasir Hameed and Faisal Iqbal, it took a 93-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Sarfraz and Kamran Sajid to rescue PIA. Kamran made 41 off 131 balls while Sarfraz was more enterprising, using only 100 balls and striking 11 boundaries. Faraz and left-arm spinner Azam Hussain captured three wickets each. Earlier, Karachi's batsmen could only add 10 more runs to their overnight 260 for 8. Tabish Khan reached his maiden first-class half-century, before being run out.
Rawalpindi only added 13 runs to their overnight total against Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) at a href="/pakistan/engine/match/313954.html">KRL Stadium and were all out for 268 with debutant centurion Fawad Hussain unbeaten on 103. KRL started their reply disastrously and lost their first five wickets with only 29 on the board before Bilal Asad (43) and Yasir Arafat (63*) shared an 82-run sixth-wicket partnership. The effort lifted KRL to 148 for 6 by close, still 120 runs in deficit.
Lowly-rated Abbottabad routed Lahore Shalimar by an innings and 79 runs within two days at the Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) Ground. Abbottabad's first win in 10 matches came after they had dismissed Lahore for 48 in their first-innings after having scored 236. Following-on, Lahore fared slightly better but still could not get past Abbottabad's total and were dismissed for 109 second time round. Armaghan Elahi was Lahore's main tormentor as he finished with match figures of 10 for 74 runs. The 26-year-old Armaghan achieved a career-best six for 16 in the first-innings and captured four for 58 in the second.
Islamabad scored 406 for 9 in reply to Peshawar's mediocre 202 at Arbab Niaz Stadium. After having lost three wickets for just 19 runs, Islamabad prospered through a fourth-wicket partnership of 206 between Fayyaz Ahmed (118) and Asadullah Sumeri (137). Naeem Anjum later scored 70 off 90 balls to boost Islamabad's total as they enjoy a 204-run lead.
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