Talha demolishes Pakistan Customs
National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) took pole position against Pakistan Customs at the National Bank of Pakistan Sports Complex in Karachi. Mohammad Talha's 5 for 44 provided little joy for the visitors after captain Bilal Shafayat chose to bat. After both openers had departed for ducks, it was left to Rameez Aziz to fight a lone battle - his 73-ball 52 the top score in a disappointing total of 130. Nasir Jamshed led the charge during the reply with a powerful unbeaten 96, and together with Fawad Alam (61 not out) helped NBP extend their lead to 73 at the end of the first day.
Misbah Khan's five-wicket haul and a strong opening stand from Ali Asad and Murtaza Majeed gave Karachi Whites opening day honours against Habib Bank Limited (HBL) at the Southend Club Cricket Stadium in Karachi. Misbah's right-arm offbreaks proved too much for HBL as they were bowled out for 176, with Ahmed Shehzad top scoring with 50. During their reply, Asad led from the front with 58 from 105 balls, including eight fours, while Murtaza kept him company with a 83-ball 35. They were 95 for no loss at the end of play and are well on course for the first-innings lead.
Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited did well restrict Lahore Shalimar to 176 for 7 in their match at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. Abid Ali and Muntazir Mehdi put on 34 for the opening wicket after being put in by the visitors. But four wickets fell with the score on 76 - severe blows dealt by Rahat Ali and Samiullah Khan. Captain Zulqarnain Haidar and Mohammad Saeed did well to buoy the innings and took Lahore safely to stumps. Rahat picked up 3 for 24, while Samiullah and Imran Ali picked up two wickets each.
Imran Abbas' patient 82, off 217 balls, helped Sui Southern Gas Corporation shake off the disappointment of their heavy loss to HBL in the previous match, as they reached 206 for 6, on the opening day of their match against Group A toppers Pakistan International Airlines at Quaid-e-Azam Park. Tahir Khan ended as the most successful bowler for Pakistan International Airlines with two wickets, while Fahad Iqbal starred in the field, playing a part in both run-outs of the innings.
Azhar Attari and Junaid Nadir were the wreckers-in-chief as they helped Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) shoot out Water and Power Development Authority for 199 at the Sheikhupura Stadium. In reply, ZTBL finished on 37 for 1, with Afaq Raheem and Umar Javed at the crease. Having been put in by ZTBL, the Water and Power Development Authority openers put on a 53-run opening stand, but a collapse ensued at the end, as none of the batsmen even managed to cross 40.
Usman Tariq's 65 was the highlight of Multan's first innings against Faisalabad at Okara. In the 54 overs on the first day, Multan were 153 for 4, with Usman and Naved Yasin at the crease. Usman, whose 135-ball effort included eleven boundaries, was involved in two key partnerships - 49 with Gulraiz Sadaf for the second wicket, and 50 with Rameez Alam for the third. Zahoor Khan was the most successful bowler for Faisalabad picking up 3 for 62.
Rashid Mansoor put Abbottabad in the driver's seat in their match against Karachi Blues at the United Bank Limited Sports Complex. Abbottabad captain Adnan Raees' decision to field first paid off as Rashid tore through the Karachi batting line-up. The right-arm fast bowler ended with 6 for 76, as only Ashfaq Afridi (38) and Daniyal Ahsan (33) offered some resistance. However, the hosts responded strongly to reduce Abbottabad to 13 for 3, before a 92-run partnership between Fawad Khan (62) and Adnan (40) propped them up. Riaz Kail and Rashid Mansoor then guided them safely to 146 for 5 at stumps.
Quetta made a cautious start after opting to bat, on the opening day of their fixture against Lahore Ravi at Muridke. Ata-ur-Rehman missed out on a half century but Mohammad Aslam, who remained unbeaten on 48, took Quetta to 181 for 4 at stumps, after 66 overs were played in the day. For Lahore Ravi, Azam Khan finished with 2 for 40, while Aamer Hayat and Kashif Siddiq took a wicket apiece.
Rawalpindi kept up a high run-rate of 3.78 to post 231 for 5 against Group B leaders Sialkot in Islamabad. From 8 for 2, after twin strikes from Naved Arif, Babar Naeem (79) and captain Naved Ashraf helped mount a strong comeback. Ashraf, hit an unbeaten 64, which comprised nine boundaries and together with Fawad Hussain put on a 69-run partnership to take Rawalpindi through to stumps.