Butt shows form, Nabi leads fightback
Salman Butt stated his claims for a Pakistan recall by piling up an unbeaten 172 for National Bank as they took control against Lahore Shalimar at the Gaddafi Stadium. Butt was dropped after a poor tour of Sri Lanka and missed the recent ICC Champions Trophy, but was in sparkling form as National Bank powered to 344 for 3 in reply to Lahore's 239. He received solid support from Umar Amin who made 61 in a third-wicket stand of 194 and at the close Fawad Alam was unbeaten on 46 in an unbroken partnership of 106.
Pakistan Customs staged an impressive fightback against Sui Sourthern Gas Corporation at the United Bank Limited Sports Complex as they bounced back from being skittled for 85 on the first day to close with a lead of 58. Asif Zahir (91) and Haaris Ayaz (42) had appeared to put SSGC in control but Mohammad Nabi, the Afghanistan allrounder, who was brought on as the sixth bowler, claimed 4 for 25 as the last five wickets fell for 13 to limit the lead to 102. Then Customs' top order began to make amends for their earlier failure as Rameez Raja ended unbeaten on 84 after adding an opening stand of 115 with Jibran Khan.
Imran Farhat dominated with 141 at the National Bank of Pakistan Sports Complex to earn Habib Bank a lead of 116 against Karachi Whites. Farhat's innings was almost half the innings total of 306 and he added the major stand of 122 with Hasan Raza (61). Tabish Khan did his best to limit the advantage with a career-best 7 for 72, but Karachi will need to bat well second time around to stay in the match.
Khan Research Laboratories' batting continued to dominate at the National Stadium as their middle order carried them to 468 against Pakistan International Airlines. Mohammad Wasim, unbeaten on 84 overnight, moved to 104 and the total was consolidated by Bazid Khan (81) and Zahoor Elahi (86) as they added 110 for the fifth wicket. The last six wickets fell for 65 as Tahir Khan claimed 5 for 150 and PIA reached 86 for 1 by the close.
The bowlers dominated on the second day at the Iqbal Stadium as 13 wickets fell, but it was Water and Power Development Authority who hold the edge against Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited. Naved-ul-Hasan followed his important 36 by taking three wickets as SNGPL slumped to 147 all out in a disappointing batting display while Shabbir Ahmed also bagged a couple. However, WPDA didn't have it all their own way despite a lead of 68 and lost three late wickets for no runs to close on 94 for 4, an overall lead of 162.
Quetta suffered a day of wasted starts by their batsmen as they finished on 223 for 7 against Abbottabad at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium. Only Shoaib Khan jr failed to reach double figures, but the top score so far stands at Ata-ur-Rehman's 35. Junaid Khan put in a long stint with the ball and was rewarded with 4 for 76 from 33 overs, but Quetta will be hoping that Sanaullah Khan, unbeaten on 31, can help his side into the lead.
Runs continued to flow swiftly at the Diamond Cricket Club as Hyderabad responded to Islamabad's 438 with 390 for 7. For the second day running more than 400 runs were scored and this time Shahid Qambrani led the way with an unbeaten 101 from 184 balls. However, the platform had been laid by Aqeel Anjum (91) and captain Faisal Athar (81). At 213 for 5, Islamabad were sensing a significant lead, but Qambrani found solid support from the lower order as Hyderabad close in on levelling up the scores.
Multan battled hard to reach a valuable lead of 126 against Lahore Ravi at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. The top order struggled to impose themselves as Multan slipped to 134 for 5, but the innings was turned around by Naved Yasin who ended the day unbeaten on 87. He added 71 for the sixth wicket with Gulraiz Sadaf (40), but played second-fiddle to Abdur Rauf in a seventh-wicket partnership worth 91 of which Rauf clubbed 69 off 64 balls.
Hundreds from Mohammad Ayub and Majid Jahangir put Sialkot in command against Faisalabad at the Jinnah Stadium. Ayub hit 129 and Jahangir 124 to form the bulk of Sialkot's 360, which earned them a strong lead of 224.