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January 4, 2009
National Bank of Pakistan look set to make it two wins out of two in the season, with left-armer Wahab Riaz's 3 for 6 in 2.4 overs wrecking Pakistan International Airlines' pursuit of a stiff 321 in Karachi. Two other players who were given international exposure in the past year, Nasir Jamshed and Fawad Alam, helped NBP pile up an impressive 322 in the second innings - the first-innings totals had been 213 and 215. Jamshed scored 115, while Alam made an unbeaten 86. For PIA, offspinner Tahir Khan took 5 for 62. Riaz then struck thrice to leave PIA at 42 for 3, but Khurram Manzoor, who's been scoring heavily of late, could pose a threat for NBP on the final day.
Both Tanvir Ahmed and Azam Hussain took four-wicket hauls as Karachi Whites fought back on the third day, but Sui Southern Gas Corporation still managed to gain a 33-run first-innings lead, having laid a strong foundation on the second day in Karachi. Azam removed Saeed Bin Nasir on his overnight score of 94, but Wajid Ali (81) and Ahmed Zeeshan (31) took SSGC five runs within Karachi's 278. Azam claimed Wajid, who added 19 to his overnight 62, and Tanvir soon joined in on the act. The sixth-wicket pair gave SSGC the all-important first-innings lead, but Karachi did not let their spirits drop, and kept the lead to 33. They were in a spot of bother after losing three wickets while still in the red, but 62s for Afsar Nawaz and former Pakistan batsman Asim Kamal, who was unbeaten at stumps, took them to 155 for 4. If they pick up wickets early on the fourth day, SSGC could pouch their first win of the season.
In the 47.2 overs possible in Lahore, hosts Lahore Shalimar scored 116 runs for the loss of five wickets against Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited. Junaid Malik and Suleman Khan, who batted through the truncated second day, failed to convert their half-centuries into hundreds. Mohammad Khalil, a former Pakistan international, took two wickets as Lahore crept along to 331 for 7.
There was no play for the second successive day between Khan Research Laboratories and Water and Power Development Authority in Rawalpindi. WAPDA, put in by KRL, had closed the first day at 217 for 5 in their first innings.
Group BA draw is on the cards in Islamabad, where no play was possible on the third day. Abbottabad had dismissed Rawalpindi for 325 in the first innings, and have not yet commenced their reply.
Faisalabad are in with a good chance of beating the weather and completing a win over Hyderabad at the Iqbal Stadium. They forced the pace on Sunday, scoring 145 runs in 25.4 overs to declare their first innings at 354 for 3, a lead of 175. Zeeshan Asif, resuming on 80, was unbeaten on 133, and Usman Arshad scored a quickfire 52 off 45 balls in an unbroken stand of 102. Ahmed Hayat then struck twice as Hyderabad slumped to 19 for 2 in their 9.2 overs before close.
Sialkot seem the odds-on favourites in their closely-fought contest against Karachi Blues at the National Stadium. Sialkot will begin the final day needing 76 runs for a win, with seven wickets still in hand. Karachi Blues, trailing by 12 on the first innings, began the day at 52 for 1 but lost three quick wickets. Opener Shahzaib Hasan fell for 51, and the only other batsman to reach double figures in the top seven was Sheharyar Ghani (42). Karachi were in trouble at 135 for 7, but Babar Rehman's run-a-ball 59, which included ten fours, and a 21 from wicketkeeper Mohammad Hasan helped them past the 200-mark. The two fell to left-armer Nayyer Abbas, with Karachi managing 219. Sialkot's openers put on 60, but Rehman dismissed the pair to leave them at 79 for 3. He combined with keeper Hasan to get rid of Kamran Younis (55), but an unbeaten 42 from Sialkot captain Mohammad Ayub, supported by Haris Sohail's 13 off 78 balls, made sure the visitors will begin the final day with the upper hand.
After 13 overs on the first day, no overs were bowled on Sunday in the match between Islamabad and Peshwar at the Marghzar Cricket Ground. Put in by Peshawar, the hosts were at 47 for 2.
Abdur Rauf did a Kaneria as Quetta, resuming on 144 for 4, were dismissed for 210, but Nazar Hussain snared four of the top five to leave Multan at 80 for 4 by close on the second day at the Multan Cricket Stadium. Captain Nasim Khan was the only batsman to go past 50 in Quetta's first innings, with Sajjad Hussain backing up Rauf's 5 for 50 with figures of 3 for 32. Nazar, though, left Multan reeling at 33 for 4, before Rameez Alam (24) and Ansar Javed (34) did the recovery job, one which they will look to continue into the third day.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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