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February 4, 2009
Kashif Raza turned in a dream performance, this time with the bat to help Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) sneak home by one wicket in a thriller against Karachi Whites at the National Stadium. WAPDA were in danger of defeat after losing the well-set Bilal Khilji for 44 early in the day. A ninth-wicket stand of 33 between Azharullah and Sarfreaz Ahmed gave WAPDA hope but Karachi hit back when Tariq Haroon sent back Sarfraz for 24. WAPDA were still 35 adrift of the target when Raza walked in and he settled the nerves with an aggressive 33, which featured five fours and a six. Raza in fact set up the victory on the opening day with 5 for 44.
Khan Reasearch Laboratories (KRL) eased to a seven-wicket win against Pakistan International Airlines at the Mirpur Cricket Stadium. Yasir Ali, overnight on 4, remained unbeaten on 44 to guide his team home. PIA managed just the one wicket, that of Zulfiqar Jan for 20, but there were no more jitters. With this win, KRL, move to the second spot in the points table, behind National Bank of Pakistan.
Ghulam Mustafa, the left-arm spinner, rounded off a solid performance with a 11-wicket haul but the target of 276 was too much for his team Lahore Shalimar to overhaul as the match against Pakistan Customs headed to a draw. Resuming on 167 for 3, Mohammad Hussain and Zahoor Elahi took the score to 221 before Mustafa struck. A few more strikes, by Mohammad Naved, left Customs struggling at 251 for 6. They were eventually bowled out for 310 with Mustafa taking 5 for 128 and a match haul of 12 for 219. Abid Ali and Saadullah Ghauri helped themselves to half-centuries as Lahore ended on 131 for 2. Customs, however, languish at the bottom of the table without opening their account.
Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Talha took four wickets to help National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) beat Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) by 283 runs at the Gaddafi Stadium. ZTBL were up against it overnight when they were struggling at 87 for 5 chasing an improbable 437. Riaz removed the overnight pair of Umer Javed and Shakeel Ansar and that sparked a lower-order collapse as ZTBL lost their last five wickets for 16 runs. It was a double failure with the bat for ZTBL as not a single batsman managed to cross fifty in both innings. NBP head the points table in Group A with 36 points.
In an embarrassing collapse, Hyderabad lost their last seven wickets for 27 runs and crashed to a 280-run defeat against Islamabad in front of their home crowd at the Niaz Stadium. Saad Altaf, the left-arm seamer, and Kamran Hussain, the offspinner, shared the spoils entirely with five wickets each to bundle out the opposition for 137. They got rid of the overnight pair of Mohammad Saleem and Mohammad Awais quickly before gnawing through the lower order. Altaf took 5 for 51 while Hussain conceded ten runs less. Islamabad now move up one place to fourth in the points table.
Abdur Rauf's 5 for 63 sunk Peshawar to 124, setting up Multan's ten-wicket win at the Multan Cricket Stadium. Peshawar lost their third wicket early and there was no resistance from the middle order as Rauf chipped away. The innings was wrapped up in the 37th over, leaving the Multan openers needing just 15 to win.
Rawalpindi coasted to an eight-wicket win against Karachi Whites at the Khan Research Laboratories Ground. Following on, Karachi managed a much-improved batting performance and were eventually bowled out for 324, with Mohammad Rameez taking 4 for 101. Rawalpindi overhauled the target of 170 with ease, with Babar Naeem scoring a quick 56 off 66 balls. Following his unbeaten 147 in the first innings, Awais Zia was undefeated in the second as well, on 41. Rawalpindi gain nine points and secure their No.2 spot in the points table.
It was a day of toil at the Jinnah Stadium as Sialkot managed only five wickets on the final day of their drawn match against Lahore Ravi. Ashraf Ali scored a patient unbeaten 103 off 204 balls while Shahnawaz Malik and Ali Haider helped themselves to half-centuries. Lahore ended on 327 for 6 shortly after Ashraf reached his century, his seventh in first-class cricket. Sialkot remain on top of the points table with 36 points.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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