NBP, Karachi Blues post big wins
National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) needed just 22 overs to storm to an innings-and-46-run win against Lahore Shalimar at the Gaddafi Stadium. Already on the backfoot as the day began - on 131 for 5 and 165 adrift of defeat - Mohammad Asif removed the two overnight batsmen. The 104-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Sheraz Butt and Saad Nasim was to be the only highlight, as Mohammad Talha and Qaiser Abbas completed formalities.
Sui Southern Gas Corporation (SSGC) thrashed Pakistan Customs by eight wickets and took full points at the United Bank Limited Sports Complex. Resuming on 16 for 1, with 223 needed for victory, opener Asif Zakir scored an unbeaten 122 off 157 balls to ensure a smooth passage. Together with Haaris Ayaz, who managed a well-compiled 68, including seven boundaries, the pair put on 146 for the second wicket to bat out Customs out of contention. Zakir was later joined by Wajid Ali (32) and the two took SSGC home in 60.3 overs.
Captain Azhar Shafiq and Umar Akmal continued the good work by the openers from the previous day to help Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) beat Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) by six wickets at the Iqbal Stadium. Needing 147 to win on the final day, SNGPL lost overnight half-centurions Naeemuddin (91) and Mohammad Hafeez (55), but the third-wicket stand of 106 between Shafiq and Akmal proved to be decisive as they completed the win by the 37th over of the day. While Akmal struck five fours and a six during his 63-ball 52, Shafiq saw his side through with an unbeaten 78 off 83 balls, including 12 boundaries and a six.
Khurram Manzoor's patient double-hundred helped Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) take first-innings points against Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) at the National Stadium. Resuming on 333 for 3, PIA lost captain Faisal Iqbal early for 53, but Manzoor was joined by Shoaib Khan snr and the two put on 159 for the fifth wicket to help them go past KRL's first-innings total of 468. Manzoor smashed 27 boundaries during his 556-ball 241, while Shoaib struck eight fours and a six during his well-compiled 73. PIA finally declared on 517 for 6, and managed the lone wicket of Azhar Ali when they sent in KRL to face 17 overs in the day.
Karachi Blues steamrolled Peshawar by an innings and 251 runs at the Khan Research Laboratory Ground to get their campaign off to a rousing start. Struggling at 82 for 5 the previous day, it was always going to be difficult for Peshawar to avoid the follow-on. Offspinner Atif Maqbool did them no favours as he made light work of the remaining batsmen to finish with a five-for. Shot out for 141, Peshawar was hoping for a turnaround in the second innings, still trailing by a massive 317. But the fast men Mohammad Sami and Tanvir Ahmed had other plans and they ran riot. The top three Peshawar batsmen were caught behind, with two of them managing ducks and there was to be no joy from there on. Captain Sajjad Ahmed managed the highest score of 17, before being trapped in front by Tanvir. Tanvir went on to take six wickets as Peshawar folded for a dismal 66 in 18 overs.
Adnan Raees picked up a five-for to give Abbottabad a whiff of full points against Quetta at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium before Arun Lal waged a brave battle to ensure there was to be no humiliation. Resuming on 184 for 5, overnight batsmen Mir Azam (37) and Khalid Usman (31) took them past the 200 mark, but both were sent back by left-arm spinner Jalat Khan. Arshad Khan wrapped up the innings by taking two wickets as Abbottabad finished on 247. The target of 256 was going to be tough, and Raees did not make life easier for the Quetta batsmen after left-arm quick Juniad Khan had dismissed the openers. The string of 30s by the Quetta batsmen did prove crucial and they managed to hold on for the draw, even as Raees continually dented the middle order.
Hyderabad opener Sharjeel Khan scored a magnificent century as they survived a minor scare against Islamabad at the Diamond Club Ground. Set an impossible target of 411, right-arm fast bowler Shehzad Azam struck four crucial blows as Hyderabad lost regular wickets. However, Khadim Hussain and wicketkeeper Zeeshan Gul held fort so that Hyderabad kept their first-innings points. Zeeshan Mushtaq followed up on Umair Khan and Ashar Zaidi's brilliant efforts for Islamabad from the previous day, scoring 60 off 63 balls, including six fours and a six. Islamabad eventually declared on 382 for 8, and from then on it was the Sharjeel show. The 20-year-old left-hander gave Hyderabad a rousing start and was involved in key partnerships with captain Faisal Athar and Hanif-ur-Rehman. Sharjeel's 135 off 145 balls, which included 17 boundaries and two sixes, went a long way in securing the draw.