Misbah bounces back with century
Misbah-ul-Haq, dropped for the New Zealand series, answered his critics, smashing an unbeaten 153 off 206 balls to put Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited on top against Lahore Shalimar at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. Misbah was joined by Usman Arshad with his team in a difficult situation at 104 for 4, but the pair scored centuries and adding an unbeaten 281 for the fourth wicket to take their team to 385 for 4 at stumps. Misbah's innings was laced with 25 fours, while Arshad struck 14 boundaries on his way to 115.
An unbeaten 101 from wicketkeeper Ahmed Said put Water and Power Development Authority in a strong position against Habib Bank Limited at the Gaddafi Stadium. Said was involved in a century-stand for the first wicket with opener Mohammad Asif (48) and added a unbeaten 55 with captain Aamer Sajjad (30 not out) to take his team to 214 for 3 at stumps.
Khan Research Laboratories reached a dominant position at stumps on day one against Karachi Whites at the National Stadium. Seamer Mohammad Irfan starred again, taking 5 for 27, and was supported by Akthar Ayub, who picked up three wickets, to derail Karachi, who were skittled out for 87. Opener Naved Khan top scored with 24, while the others struggled. The KRL batsmen ensured the advantage remained with them, as each chipped in to take the team to 214 for thee at the end of the day, with a lead of 127. Zulfiqur Jan, the wicketkeeper, hit an 80-ball 57, while captain Mohammad Wasim batted through the end with an unbeaten 69.
Pakistan's fast bowling duo rose to the occasion for National Bank of Pakistan to give them the edge against Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited in Faisalabad. Mohammad Asif starred with a five-wicket haul, taking 5 for 35, and was well backed up by Mohammed Aamer (3 for 22), as ZTBL were shot out for 115. Only Shahid Yousuf offered any sound resistance, making 53. Abdul Razzaq, however, ensured NBP would not completely dominate, taking 3 for 42 to leave them at 155 for 5 at stumps. NBP were struggling at 97 for 5 at one stage, but an unbeaten 46 by Kamran Akmal, with good support from Qaiser Abbas (25 not out), kept them in control.
Pakistan Customs ended the day on even terms against Pakistan International Airlines in Karachi. They had limped to 106 for 5 but opener Jibran Khan (93) and Mohammad Nabi (64 not out) staged an excellent recovery, adding 105. The day would have ended in Pakistan Customs' favour had they not lost Khan just before stumps; they finished on 216 for 6. For PIA, wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed took five catches.
Nineties from captain Adnan Raees and Riaz Kail took Abbottabad to a commanding 309 for 7 against Hyderabad at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium. Put in by the visitors, openers Hammad Ali and Ghulam Mohammad put on a solid opening stand of 67, before both fell to slow left-arm spinner Pir Zulfiqar, who finished with 3 for 55. While Kail departed for a well-made 94, comprising 12 boundaries, Raees held fort with a 177-ball 90, including 11 boundaries to see Abbottabad through to stumps.
A five-for for right-arm fast bowler Ahmed Hayat along with fellow paceman's Zahoor Khan's 4 for 84 helped Fasialabad shoot out Peshawar for 232 in Sargodha. There were four catches for wicketkeeper Mohammad Salman as well, with his opposite number Mohammad Rizwan (53) and Azam Jan (50) providing the fight for Faisalabad. During the reply though, Faisalabad lost Zeeshan Asif for a duck, and ended the day on 3 for 1.
Sheharyar Ghani's brilliant 159 helped table-toppers Karachi Blues take the honours on day one against Islamabad at the Diamond Club Ground. Ghani was in top form, striking 24 fours during his 224-ball knock, and combining well with Asad Shafiq. The third-wicket stand yielded 226, with Shafiq hitting 89 off 155 balls, including ten fours. Shehzad Azam, who had accounted for the openers, returned to pick up two late wickets before wicketkeeper Javed Mansoor guided Karachi to stumps, unbeaten on 30.
Babar Naeem gave Rawalpindi the upper hand in their game against bottom-of-the-table Quetta at the National Ground. The left-handed opener hit a well-paced 117, comprising 22 fours and a six to lead the way. Usman Saeed and captain Naved Ashraf followe dup the act by scoring fluent fifties. Ashraf remained unbeaten on 60, hitting six fours and a six en route as Rawalpindi ended the day on a strong 309 for 4.
It was right-arm fast bowler Abdur Rauf's contribution with the bat that helped Quetta post 278 first up against Sialkot at the Jinnah Stadium. Quetta lost Fayyaz-ul-Hasan for no score, but were supported by fighting forties from Ghulam Fareed and Babar Ali, before they were both sent back by Suleman Ali (3 for 67), Sialkot's hero with the ball. At 140 for 6, it was captain Rauf who held the reins. He smashed a quick 86, including 13 fours and a six, and put on 89 with Rizwan Haider (32) to take them to a fighting total. Nayyer Abbas and Naved Arif completed the formalities, ending with two wickets apiece.