Rameez's 13 keep Rawalpindi on top
Pakistan Customs stitched up a comfortable win, their first of the season, over Lahore Shalimar at Muridke. They began the third day with a lead of 181 and could only add a single run to that this morning, but by keeping Lahore Shalimar to 244 they allowed themselves an easy chase. Mohammad Iftikhar, the right-arm medium-pacer, struck twice early and then down the order to apply the pressure and the only batsman to reply was Sohail Idrees. Idrees batted 158 deliveries for an unbeaten 104, which contributed 59% of the total. However, it could ultimately only help set a target of 63, which was knocked off in 7.3 overs despite the loss of the openers.
Zarai Tarqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) dominated the first half of the day, thanks to Kashif Daud's six wickets, but a batting collapse handed the momentum right back to Habib Bank Limited(HBL) at the Marghzar Cricket Ground. From an overnight lead of 122, ZTBL added a further 117 to their score as Daud ran down the order for a career-best 6 for 72. The captain Hasan Raza's 33 and an unbeaten 36 from Mohammad Aslam at No. 9 could yet prove to be crucial given the situation at stumps. Set a target of 240, ZTBL slipped to 91 for 5 with Sarmad Anwar taking three wickets.
In Rawalpindi, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) finished a fine day's work needing another 70 runs to win with eight wickets in hand. That this was the result was down to their work in the field, when they dismissed Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) for 180 after their own innings came down for 293. No major partnerships were allowed to flourish as four of the five bowlers used restricted KRL. There was just one half-century, from Ali Khan, and despite losing two before stumps, including the opener Naeemuddin for a first-ball duck, SNGPL are in prime position to achieve their fourth win in a row.
Sui Southern Gas Corporation (SSGC) didn't buckle under a weight of runs - not yet, at least - and held out for another day against National Bank of Pakistan in Faisalabad. From an overnight 274 for 2, NBP declared at 441 for 5 with Rashid Riaz (63*), Mansoor Amjad (45) and Qaiser Abbas (38) piling on the misery for SSGC. Trailing by 259, SSGC replied with a steady second innings to ensure NBP will have to work a little harder on the final day. There were no substantial contributions but SSGC reached 143 for 6, leaving NBP four wickets to take for their third win of the season.
An interesting tussle between Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) at the Gaddafi Stadium ended with the latter chasing 262 with ten wickets. PIA began the third day with a lead of 55 and extended it to 279 thanks to key roles at the top and down the order. Rafatullah Mohmand (48) and Adil Nisar (61) added 106 for the opening wicket but suffered a wobble after they and Jahangir Mirza (52) fell. However, the last five wickets rallied to add 129 and that set PIA a tough target. In the 2.3 overs left in the day they knocked off 17 of those.
Group BYoung fast bowler Mohammad Rameez capped an outstanding match by adding a career-best 8 for 27 to five in the first innings, helping table-toppers Rawalpindi beat Peshawar by 75 runs at the National Ground. Rameez was unstoppable with the new ball and utterly flummoxed Peshawar for a paltry 77. It was a stunning turnaround from Rawalpindi who, after being forced to follow on after making just 81, were carried to 334 thanks to Usman Saeed (79) and Zahid Mansoor (81). The pair rallied the top order confidently and a couple key hands down the order helped set Peshawar a target of 153. They didn't even get near, with Rameez slicing them apart amazingly. Rawalpindi have won four from four.
A tidy outing in the field set up a nine-wicket win for Sialkot over Quetta at the Jinnah Stadium. Kamran Younis carried from an overnight 147 to 182 and the wicketkeeper Ahmed Butt made 94 to help the score to 354 even as Arun Lal took four more to finish with 7 for 87 against a lack of support. Then Quetta folded for 156 in 39 overs to Sialkot's seam attack, and a target of 16 was easily achieved.
Faisalabad, despite making 309, were forced to follow on by Islamabad at the Diamond Club Ground. The pressure of trying to get near Islamabad's first innings of 485 told as no big stands were formed; the 84 for the second wicket was the best Faisalabad managed. Imran Ali battled with 73 from the top but received little support and Faisalabad needed 52 from Mohammad Salman and an unbeaten 39 from Zulqarnain at No.10 prop up the scorecard. Shehzad Azam (4 for 121) and Nasrullah Khan (3 for 96) shared seven wickets. Following-on, Faisalabad were 0 for no loss at the close.
Chasing 316, Multan finished day three on 99 for 3 against Karachi Blues at the National Stadium. Multan only added nine to their first-innings total in the morning, after which Rizwan Haider and Zulfiqar Babar ran through Karachi Blues to dismiss them for 167. The duo struck all down the order and didn't allow the opposition to dominate; there were no half-centuries while Shahzaib Hasan (42), Asad Shafiq (32) and Tanvir Ahmed (33) were cut off after they got starts. Shahzaid finished with 5 for 74 and Babar 4 for 43. Multan lost a couple wickets early on but were steadied by the No. 3 Rameez Alam's unbeaten 58.
Lahore Ravi replied well to Hyderabad's 377, thanks to the opener and captain Kashif Siddiq's 121 at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. Siddiq, who resumed on 70, saw his side slipped from 114 for 2 to 149 for 6 but found assistance from the lower order. Waqas Ahmed (33), Mohammad Irshad (65)and Adbul Ghaffar (27*) were superb in getting the score up to 348. In their second innings Hyderabad finished the day on 61 for 3, a lead of 90.