Five-fors dominate opening day
A five-for from Asad Ali helped Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) gain the early advantage against Khan Research Laboratory (KRL) at the KRL Ground. The 21-year-old right-arm paceman bowled with great venom to take out four of the top six KRL batsmen. He was well supported by Mohammad Hafeez who chipped in with three bottom-order wickets to bowl out the hosts for 198. Hafeez then combined well with Naeemuddin to put on an undefeated opening stand of 51 during the reply.
The left-arm spin of Mohammad Hussain proved too much for second-from-bottom Lahore Shalimar against Pakistan Customs at the Lahore Country Club. Hussain finished with sublime figures of 6.3-1-7-5 as Lahore folded for 114 in 47.2 overs. Once Tahir Mughal had made the intial inroads, Hussain ran through the middle and lower orders, with Lahore's wicketkeeper-captain Ali Raza providing the only fight with 25. In reply, Customs lost Jibran Khan early while Asad Baig retired hurt. But they won't be too troubled at 55 for 1.
Uzair-ul-Haq was also on the list of five-wicket hauls for the day as National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) began well against Sui Southern Gas Corporation (SSGC) at the Iqbal Stadium. Uzair did full justice to captain Naumanullah's decision to field first, accounting for the top five SSGC batsmen. Opener Asif Zakir made a lone fifty as the SSGC innings ended on 182. The NBP openers, Nasir Jamshed and Umar Amin, negotiated the five overs left in the day and took stumps at 19 for no loss.
A disciplined effort from the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) seamers helped them bowl out Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) for 138 at the Gaddafi Stadium. The WAPDA scorecard made for uniform reading as fast bowler Aizaz Cheema struck at either ends - removing the openers and taking out the No. 9 and 10 batsmen. Kamran Sajid accounted for the next three to follow after the openers, while Najaf Shah dismissed the next three. Wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed played no small part, plucking out six catches. PIA lost Khurram Manzoor before ending the day on 51 for 1.
Zarai Tarqiati Bank Limited's (ZTBL's) right-arm fast bowler Kashif Daud picked up 3 for 85 even as the Habib Bank Limited (HBL) batsmen managed sizeable contributions to maintain the balance in the match at the Marghzar Cricket Ground. Put in to bat, opener Saleem Elahi's patient 49 proved to be HBL's top score as Daud dented the middle order. The table-toppers were propped up by a string of thirties from ICL returnee Taufeeq Umar, Kamran Hussain and captain Hasan Raza. But at 232 for 6, the undefeated pair of Abdur Rehman and wicketkeeper Farhan Iqbal will be expected to do more.
Eighties by Umair Khan and Ashar Zaidi lifted Islamabad to a strong 281 for 5 against Faisalabad at the Diamond Club Ground . The home side openers added 79 and the fourth-wicket stand of 97 took them to a position of strength. Umair made 87 before he was dismissed by Ijaz Ahmed jnr, who took three wickets. Zaidi ended the day in sight og a century with an unbeaten 80.
It was a good contest between bat and ball at the National Stadium as Karachi Blues posted 291 but lost eight wickets to Multan. Shahzaib Hasan got the innings off to a brisk start with a 44-ball 48 but his opening partner Ali Asad went on to score a fifty. Asad Shafiq was the top scorer of the day with 67, at No.3, but the middle order failed to convert their starts. Rizwan Haider, the left-arm seamer, and Zulfiqar Babar, the left-arm spinner, shared five wickets between them to pull things back for Multan.
At the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground , Hyderabad ended the day on a decent 274 for 6 against Lahore Ravi. The openers, Aqeel Anjum and Sharjeel Khan, laid a strong platform with a stand of 102. Hanif-ur-Rehman, batting at No.4, missed his half-century by a run before he was dismissed by Kasjif Siddiq. Shahid Qambrani and Lal Kumar added 80 for the fifth wicket to prop Hyderabad after they lost two wickets in quick succession.
A five-wicket haul by Mohammad Rameez helped Rawalpindi take control against Peshawar at the National Ground in Islamabad. The 19-year-old seamer took four top-order wickets to set Peshawar back. They had lost half their side for 55 and a recovery came in the form of a sixth-wicket stand of 55 between Mohammad Rizwan and Azam Jan, who top scored with 77. Jan got some support from the lower order who helped take the score past 250. Mohammad Ayaz took 3 for 57 while Rameez took another wicket to finish with 5 for 89.
Faisal Rasheed's four-wicket haul led Sialkot's opening day domination against Quetta at the Jinnah Stadium. Quetta were initially in control with a second-wicket stand of 78 but the batting began to fall apart. Shoaib Khan jnr top scored with 94 but lacked support from the middle order. Rasheed cleaned up the lower order to finish with 4 for 35. The Sialkot openers added 11 before stumps were drawn.