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February 1, 2009
A five-wicket haul by Kashif Raza sent Karachi Whites crashing to 133 against Water and Power Development Authority in the opening day at the National Stadium. WAPDA however, didn't end the day in a very secure position either, finishing at 87 for 4. Karachi's decision to bat backfired after they were reduced to 28 for 4, a position from which they never really recovered. Ali Asad showed some fight with an unbeaten 67, which featured seven fours. Raza, the right-arm seamer took the opening two wickets and later cleaned up the tail to finish with 5 for 44. WAPDA were jolted by Tanvir Ahmed's early strikes, which reduced them to a precarious 3 for 4. He struck again to remove Bilal Khilji for 30. Ali Azmat and Ahmed Said pushed the score from 43 to 84 and were unbeaten at stumps.
After a disappointing showing in the ODIs against Sri Lanka, Sohail Tanvir bounced back with an eight-wicket haul to help Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) rip out Pakistan International Airlines for 152 at the Mirpur Cricket Stadium. After Khurram Manzoor and Kamran Sajid added 50 for the opening wicket, Tanvir struck in quick succession, leaving them in trouble at 53 for 4. Sarfraz Ahmed resisted with a quick 37 off 42 balls before he was dismissed by Yasir Ali, the only other wicket-taker. Tanvir cleaned up the tail to finish with 8 for 54, his best first-class figures. KRL were well-placed at 82 for 2 in their reply, with Zulfiqar Jan scoring 43.
It was another low-scoring day, at the Sheikhupura Stadium as Sui Southern Gas Pipelines Limited (SSGPL) were shout out for 135 against Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL). Imran Ali, the right-arm seamer, led SNGPL's domination with 5 for 31 and he was supported by Samiullah Khan (2 for 54) and Yasir Shah (3 for 37). The trio kept chipping away at the wickets and didn't allow any major partnerships to develop. SNGPL lost three wickets in reply but had the experienced pair of Mohammad Hafeez and Misbah-ul-Haq unbeaten. At stumps, SNGPL were at 109 for 3.
It was practically a one-man effort by Lahore Shalimar as Ghulam Mustafa, the left-arm spinner, took 6 for 97 but it didn't stop Pakistan Customs from piling on a score of over 300, at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. Pakistan Customs built their innings on a strong opening stand of 136 between Rameez Raja and Rameez Aziz. Mustafa struck twice in quick succession to leave them at 144 for 3 before the middle-order recovered. Raja and Zahoor Elahi, the former Pakistan international, fell short of their respective tons, making 87 and 81 respectively. Both Mohammad Naved and Mustafa bowled 33 overs each and were the only wicket-takers, with Mustafa claiming six as Customs ended at 317 for 7.
A four-wicket haul by Rao Iftikhar Anjum restricted a strong National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) batting line-up to 225 at the Gaddafi Stadium. NBP opted to bat against Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) but didn't get off to a good start, losing three wickets for 43. Naumanullah scored 56 but NBP couldn't stage a big enough recovery as Anjum pegged away at the middle order. NBP's best phase was a stand of 89 for the sixth wicket between Qaiser Abbas (55) and Kamran Akmal (48). Anjum finished with 4 for 56 while Azhar Attari took 3 for 54. ZTBL lost the wicket of Afaq Rahim before ending the day at 40 for 1.
Peshawar took control on the opening day at the Multan Cricket Stadium, ending on 300 for 4 against hosts, Multan who were made to toil after opting to bowl first. Naved Khan and Mohammad Idrees both hit half-centuries and were involved in a stand of 122 for the second wicket. Naved hit nine fours in his 70, while Idrees hit eight in his 63. Mahfooz Sabri strengthened Peshawar's position with an unbeaten 57 and had the captain Akbar Badshah for company at stumps on 33. The Multan bowlers were guilty of indiscipline, conceding 27 no balls, with Ansar Javed contributing 13.
Bottom-placed Quetta's bid to open their account in the tournament dealt another blow as they were bowled out for a disappointing 164 against Abbottabad in Islamabad. Quetta were tottering at 3 for 7 as Armaghan Elahi and Asif Afridi struck early blows. The only substantial stand was that of 50 for the fifth wicket, with Ata-ur-Rehman leading the way with 47. Noor-ul-Amin, the left-arm spinner, chipped away at the lower order to finish with 4 for 58. In reply, Abbottabad ended on a more steady 73 for 2 with Hammad Ali unbeaten on 45.
In an astonishing display of lower-order resistance, Rauf Akbar scored a hundred at No.9 to rescue Islamabad from 73 for 7 to 258 against Hyderabad at the Niaz Stadium. Rauf's 116 came off 187 balls with 12 fours and two sixes and he couldn't have got there without the support of the tail, with whom he shared stands of 63, 73 and 49. The early damage was done by Lal Kumar, the left-arm seamer, who took 4 for 52 while the legspinner, Aslam Sattar, took 3 for 54. They lost the initiative when Rauf and Imad Wasim (33) took control. Rauf had already scored nine half-centuries at the first-class level and today he finally converted one to three figures. Hyderabad, in reply, ended at 22 for now loss.
An unbeaten 147 by Awais Zia helped Rawalpindi to 289 against Karachi Blues at the Khan Research Laboratories Ground. Zia's contribution stood out as only fours others managed to cross three figures, the next highest being 33 by the captain Naved Ashraf. Tabish Khan, the right-arm seamer, was the chief wicket-taker with 5 for 57. The last two wickets supported Zia well as they added 96 in total with him. Zia hit 18 fours and a six in his knock. Karachi batted out two overs and were yet to open their account.
An eighth-wicket stand of 73 between Ali Raza and Waqas Ahmed helped Lahore Ravi recover to 270 for 9, after they were in trouble at 178 for 7 against Sialkot at the Jinnah Stadium. Sohail Ahmed, the opener, top scored with 68 but the middle order failed to convert their starts. The debutant right-arm seamer, Bilawal Bhatti, took 4 for 73 but it wasn't the most disciplined performance as he conceded 15 no balls. Raza was unbeaten on 40 at stumps.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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