Rashid Latif's nine-for stuns Islamabad
When Rashid Latif, the former Pakistan wicketkeeper, hit the headlines for admitting to cheating in a Test against Bangladesh, his lesser-known namesake took nine wickets in an innings at the Diamond Club Ground. The right-arm seamer's extraordinary spell of 9 for 42 ensured a first-innings lead of 86 for Rawalpindi against Islamabad. After Rawalpindi were bowled out for 237, Latif, the right-arm seamer, ran through the batting order in his 23 overs. Only four Islamabad batsmen managed to cross double figures, with Ali Sarfraz top scoring with 36. Islamabad were bowled out for 151 and the opposition extended its lead to 155 with eight second-innings wickets in hand.
The bowlers called the shots on the second day, when 17 wickets fell, but the third was all about Abbottabad's Adnan Raees, whose 180 showed that runs could be scored on this pitch at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium. The Peshawar bowlers struck early and reduced the opposition to 27 for 3 before captain Raees stepped in and turned the match on its head. He found support from the middle order, with stands of 101, 63, 74 and an unbeaten 56 with Khalid Usman. Raees 240-ball knock included 30 boundaries and he helped his team extend the lead to 351. Riaz Afridi took 4 for 117.
A five-wicket haul by Faisalabad's Zahoor Khan, the right-arm fast bowler, sent Quetta crashing to 167 after which they were asked to follow-on at Sargodha. Zahoor's spell had Quetta in trouble at 110 for 8, before the tail pushed the score to 167. Faced with a big deficit of 183, Quetta batted better in their second innings, with Shoaib Khan jnr leading the way with 80. He and Shahzad Tareen, his opening partner, added 79, but after that stand Quetta lost their way when Ijaz Ahmed jnr took three quick wickets. Shoaib battled on till stumps and had Faisal Irfan for company. Quetta are still 40 runs away from making the opposition bat again and they have a tough task on the final day.
Lahore Ravi face a stiff ask on the final day to save the match against Karachi Blues at the National Stadium, after being reduced to 48 for 4 in pursuit of a massive 419. Asad Shafiq put Karachi in a very commanding position with an unbeaten 147 and his knock was valuable as it came when his team was in a bit of trouble at 99 for 5. His 284-ball knock included 15 fours. Junaid Zia, the seamer, was the leading wicket-taker with 4 for 71. Mohammad Sami's three wicket-burst only strengthened Karachi's hold on the game.
The contest between National Bank of Pakistan and Pakistan International Airlines was tantalizingly poised at stumps on the third day in Faisalabad. A five-wicket haul from fast bowler Wasim Khan hauled NBP back into the game after they were left with the possibility of being set a huge target on the second day. Starting the day on 112 for 2, PIA would have hoped to build substantially on their lead but faltered, losing five wickets for 33. But a lower-order resurgence, led by Anwar Ali's 68, boosted PIA to 256 and set NBP a target of 266. Openers Umar Amin (44 not out) and Rashid Riaz (29 not out), however, have began the chase on a positive note, steering NBP to 79 without loss at stumps, setting up an interesting final day.
Habib Bank Limited held the advantage against Sui Southern Gas Corporation in Rawalpindi. A four-wicket haul from Abdur Rehman helped HBL bowl out SSGC, who were able to add just 36 to their overnight score, for a paltry 141. In their reply, HBL were dented by Shakeel-ur-Rehman, who took 4 for 54, but important contributions from captain Hasan Raza (39), Farhan Iqbal (36 not out) and Mohammad Aslam (26 not out) took them to 201 for 7 at stumps, a lead of 66.
Karachi Whites reached a dominant position against Lahore Shalimar at the Gaddafi Stadium, and are in a position to force an innings win. They began the day on 233 for 3, boosted by a century from opener Naved Khan. Though Naved wasn't able to add too many to his overnight score, the middle order consolidated the good work. Half-centuries from Akbar-ur-Rehman (98), Afsar Nawaz (96) and Atif Ali (56) took Karachi past the 500-run mark and gave them an imposing lead of 263. Nawaz and Akbar-ur-Rehman were involved in a stand of 166 for the fifth wicket; Mohammad Naved grabbed three wickets, but at a heavy price, conceding 141 runs. Karachi declared on 520, while Lahore were 53 for 1 in the second innings, still 210 behind.
Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited fought back superbly to leave Pakistan Customs staring at the possibility of defeat in Islamabad. Tahir Mughal grabbed a five-for and had SNGPL reeling at 82 for 5 in response to Pakistan Customs' 169. However, Usman Salahuddin and wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal smashed centuries, reaching their career-best scores of 116 and 120 respectively, to add 219 for the sixth wicket and put the game out of the opposition's reach. Salahuddin's knock was laced with 13 fours and two sixes while Akmal struck 14 boundaries in his. Sensing an opportunity to force a win and make the most of the remaining overs, SNGPL declared at 307 for 8, a lead of 138. The ploy worked wonders, as seamer Samiullah Khan rattled the Pakistan Customs top order with three wickets to consign them to a precarious 36 for 3 at stumps.
Rain prevented the possibility of any play between Water and Power Development Authority and Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited in Gujranwala. The match looks almost certain to end in a draw, as WAPDA amassed 446 in their first innings while ZTBL have only faced 7.2 overs in reply.