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January 15, 2009
Mohammad Naved's seven wickets gave Lahore Shalimar a superb start to their day, but by the end of it they were on the losing side as Khan Research Laboratories wrapped up a ten-wicket win inside two days at the Lahore Country Club. Having taken four wickets the previous evening to reduce KRL to 38 for 4, Naved took three more - he has taken 15 wickets in his last two games - to help bowl them out for 193, a lead of 90. But then Lahore flopped for the second consecutive innings, crashing to 118 in 37.1 overs at the hands of the same trio who did the damage on day one. Set just 29 to win, KRL's openers needed 23 balls to chase it down. KRL now sit at No.1 on the Group A points table.
Malik Aftab (5 for 73) and Fawad Khan (4 for 98) wrapped up National Bank of Pakistan's lower order relatively quickly on the first morning, and by stumps at the Southend Club Cricket Stadium Karachi Whites had whittled the deficit down to 221. Karachi's reply to NBP's 386 began with the opener Asad Shafiq departing for a duck, but half-centuries to the captain Khalid Latif and Afsar Nawaz steered the ship towards steadier ground at 165 for 4. NBP, currently ranked second, will back themselves to come good on day three.
Habib Bank Limited's middle order rallied superbly to boost the total from 247 for 2 to 501 for 8 declared one at Karachi's Quaid-e-Azam Park, and a quick wicket in the seven overs before stumps left Sui Southern Gas Corporation up against it. Khaqan Arsal (76), Aftab Alam (76) and Kamran Hussain (67) weighted in with bat before Fahad Masood took out Imran Abbas for 6 to leave SSGC 21 for 1.
Once Pakistan International Airlines cut off young Rameez Aziz on 141, Pakistan Customs didn't put up much of a fight and were bowled out for 310 at the NBP Sports Complex. PIA proceeded to make a steady start to their innings, thanks in no small part to an 86-run opening stand, and took stumps at 149 for 2 in 32.2 overs. Yasir Hameed's 50-ball 47 gave the innings impetus and with Faisal Iqbal just getting his eye in, PIA should come out confident on day three.
It was mind-numbing stuff in Sargodha, where Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited added 175 runs to their total in 65.4 overs. From 35 for 1 ZTBL inched to 210 for 4 on a truncated day's play but importantly ground out a 54-run lead against Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited. The strike-rates of each of the four contributor's to the days total hovered in the thirties, and former Pakistan opener Wajahatullah Wasti, on 47, will need to go deep if he really wants to hurt SNGPL.
Multan fared better in their second innings, losing just eight wickets on the way to 247 for 8 on the second day's play at the Diamond Club Ground. After Islamabad dismissed them to 118 and then folded for 159 themselves, Multan needed to come good with the bat. At 28 for 2 it looked as if a wobble was around the corner, but Rameez Alam (50) and Kashif Naved (56 not out) found form. At 247 for 8 Multan lead by 200, and should look to add a few more runs - given that they came back from a poor first innings, there's no reason Islamabad cannot.
Sialkot all but batted Quetta out of the match on day two at at the Jinnah Stadium. With a 61-run lead when play resumed, Sialkot marched on to 387 for 6 and then left Quetta hurting at 59 for 4. Leading the way for Sialkot was centurion Mohammad Ayub, with 104 from 146 balls, and he got good support from the batsmen to follow. Still 236 runs behind, Quetta - with three losses on the trot - need a monumental effort to save this one.
For the second day running at the United Bank Limited Sports Complex in Karachi, neither Karachi Blues nor Peshawar managed to swing the momentum decisively one way. Karachi restricted Peshawar from 261 for 5 to 290 all out, Abdul Ameer taking five wickets, only to finish the day on 205 for 5. They found themselves 21 for 2 before Aariz Kamal (33) and Sheharyar Ghani (78) offered repair work. Much rests on the shoulders of Sajjad Ahmed, unbeaten on 43 at the close.
Babar Naeem's 167-ball 143 and an unbeaten 84 from Usman Saeed gave Rawalpindi a 45-run lead over Faisalabad at the Mirpur Stadium. Naeem added 103 for the first wicket with Mohammad Ibrahim (37) and then put on 111 with Saeed, who was 16 short of a sixth century as stumps were taken on 297 for 5. Rawalpindi had been bowled out for 252 on the first day.
Hyderabad bowled out Lahore Ravi for 218 in 62.2 overs on day one at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground after electing to field. Naeem-ur-Rehman and Sajjad Ali struck to leave Lahore Ravi reeling at 83 for 6, and it took half-centuries to the wicketkeeper Ali Raza (68) and Waqas Ahmed (50 from 50 balls) to bet the total to something resembling respectable. Lal Kumar, the left-arm fast bowler, picked up career-best figures of 3 for 27 in his third match.
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