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October 28, 2009
Pakistan International Airlines dominated the opening day at the National Stadium, dismissing Karachi Whites for 192 and finishing on 60 for 0. No bowler really threatened; rather it was a proper team effort with each of the six bowlers used picking up at least one wicket. Partnerships were never allowed to blossom - 61 for the third wicket was the highest - and most crucial was how PIA took the last seven wickets for 96 runs. In the 16 overs before stumps Khurram Manzoor and Agha Sabir reduced the lead to 132.
The right-arm medium-pacer Junaid Nadir led with the ball for Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, who had Khan Research Laboratories at 250 for 9 by the close in Rawalpindi. Nadir dismissed the opener Saeed Anwar jnr early but did the real damage later on, reducing KRL from 68 for 3 to 110 for 7. KRL needed the experience of former Pakistan batsman Zahoor Elahi, whose unbeaten 98 in a 119-run eight-wicket stand with Nauman Ali proved massive. Nadir picked up his fifth shortly before stumps.
Water and Power Development Authority claimed a slight edge over Lahore Shalimar at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground, closing the opening day needing 74 run to overtake their total with six wickets in hand. The groundwork for an ultimately pleasing day was done by their bowlers, namely Sarfraz Ahmed and Umaid Asif. The pair chipped in to slice through Lahore Shalimar's line-up; from 40 for 1 they slipped to 148 for 9 before the last wicket managed to add 25. Sarfraz took 4 for 36 and Umaid 4 for 60, while the top score of the innings was Suleman Khan's 61. Ahmed Said, the wicketkeeper, had six dismissals. Lahore Shalimar hit back with four wickets before stumps.
Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited were the better side on day one at the Sheikhupura Stadium, bowling out Sui Southern Gas Corporation for 160 and reducing the deficit to 59 by stumps. Samiullah Khan returned his best figures of the season, 5 for 41, to do the damage for SNGPL . Only the opener Azeem Ghumman (88) managed to cross 32 and there were only two double-digit scores. Mohammad Hafeez, the former Pakistan allrounder, batted his way to 49 before the close as SNGPL finished a dominant day.
Group leaders National Bank of Pakistan achieved a pleasing opening day's performance against Habib Bank Limited at the Gaddafi Stadium. Having been put in to bat, NBP put up 267 for 5 thanks to Fawad Alam (98), Rashid Riaz (60) and Qaiser Abbas (60*) after they had been reduced to 42 for 3.
Seventeen wickets fell on the opening day at the Diamond Club Ground, with hosts Islamabad struggling to overcome bottom-ranked Quetta's first-innings score. Having opted to field, Islamabad did well to keep the opposition to 163, but stumbled in reply. Rauf Akbar (3 for 31), Shehzad Azam (3 for 71), and Nasrullah Khan (4 for 35) grabbed the wickets in the first half of the day, after which Quetta's attack gave them hopes of a maiden win this season. Each of the four bowlers used chipped in, with former Pakistan offspinner Arshad Khan taking 2 for 3 in two overs before stumps.
A maiden first-class century from Hyderabad wicketkeeper Mohammad Awais could yet prove to be more pivotal than it seems as matters unfold in Muridke. Opting to bat first, Hyderabad had difficulty imposing themselves against Peshawar's pace attack, led by Nauman Habib and Imran Khan. The new-ball pair found early assistance from the conditions and reduced Hyderabad to 77 for 5, and later 113 for 7, with Imran taking 5 for 85. But Awais, batting at No. 7, refused to budge and provided commendable reliability at one end. With Pir Zulfiqar (14) he added 29 for the eighth wicket and 73 for the ninth with Naeem-ur-Rehman (27), after which in the company of the last man Farhan Ayub he put on an unbeaten 61. At stumps, Awais was on 110 off 211 deliveries.
Three wickets from the medium-pacer Mohammad Rameez allowed Rawalpindi claim the day's honours over Karachi Blues at the National Ground. There was just one half-century in Rawalpindi's innings of 271 (the opener Babar Naeem made 50) but useful contributions from the captain Naved Ashraf (40), Yasim Murtaza (36) and last man Haseeb Azam (32) proved significant at the end of the day. Rameez, taking the new ball, made incisions early to leave Karachi Blues breathing heavily at 41 for 4.
Sialkot crawled their way to 200 for 8 thanks largely to the opener Majid Jahangir's unbeaten 110 at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium. Having been put in to bat by Abbottabad, Sialkot failed to impose themselves against a tidy seam attack led by Junaid Khan (3 for 41) but will count themselves in a positive situation after Jahangir's performance. Batting out the day, he faced 268 balls in 341 minutes.
Faisalabad closed on 266 for 4 and will look to step on it on day two at the Iqbal Stadium. Ammar Mahmood (70) and the wicketkeeper Mohammad Salman (89) contributed the bulk of that total through their 121 partnership for the third wicket.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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