HBL gains crucial lead against SNGPL
When the top two clash, expect an exciting match on the cards. As events unfolded on the second day at the Diamond Club Ground, both Habib Bank Limited (HBL) and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) sweated over first-innings points. Resuming on 10 for 1, HBL were buoyed by Sham Massod's 61 at the top of the order, but right-arm fast bowler Asad Ali's 6 for 98 reduced them to 191 for 8. But defining contributions from Kamran Hussain (63), Abdur Rehman (45) and Fahad Masood (30 not out) ultimately helped HBL tiptoe past SNGPL's first-innings total of 245.
National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) took the patient route in search of a first-innings lead against Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) in Rawalpindi. Mohammad Talha was the wrecker-in-chief, picking up a five-for, as KRL were bowled out for 353, after adding 34 to their overnight score. Imran Javed was the star during NBP's reply, compiling 60 off 132 balls, and putting together an unbeaten stand of 103 with captain Naumanullah (42 not out). NBP finished the day with seven wickets in hand, still 180 shy of first-innings points.
It was the turn of captain Saeed Bin Nasir to score a hundred, following Azeem Ghumman's stellar show the previous day as Sui Southern Gas Corporation (SSGC) powered their way to a huge total batting first against Lahore Shalimar at the Gaddafi Stadium. While Ghumman could add 40 to his overnight score of 143, Nasir smashed 11 fours en route to 101. Having declared on 422 for 6, SSGC then proceeded to remove the top three Lahore batsmen, to leave them tottering at 130 at the end of the day.
A superb bowling spell by Tabish Khan could not rescue Karachi Whites, as they surrendered first-innings points to Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) at the National Bank of Pakistan Sports Complex . Tabish finished with 6 for 90, but every contribution from the WAPDA middle and lower orders were made to count, as they nosed ahead of Karachi's first-innings total of 170, to finish on 222. Opener Mohtasim Ali (76) and wicketkeeper Mohammad Hasan (65) easily erased the deficit with a second-wicket stand of 146, but the WAPDA bowlers hit back with four wickets as Karachi took stumps with the score on 196.
Zulqarnain Haider was in fine form for Zarai Tarqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) and his century gave them the upper hand against Pakistan Customs at the Marghzar Cricket Ground. His 161 off 302 balls comprised 21 boundaries as ZTBL powered on from 224 for 8 to finish on 358. The good work was carried on by Kashif Daud during the reply, as the right-arm fast bowler sent back three of the top six Customs batsmen, to leave them in trouble with a 215-run deficit.
Faisalabad fast bowler Ahmed Hayat took 5 for 77 to limit Karachi Blues to 293 for 8 on the opening day at the National Stadium. Five Karachi batsmen got off to starts but only Adnan Baig scored more than 50. His 71 was the top score of an innings that slumped to 166 for 5 before picking itself up to reach 293. Tanvir Ahmed, the No. 9 batsman, scored an unbeaten 37 off 50 balls to take the innings into the second day.
Sialkot restricted Rawalpindi to 215 in their first innings at the Jinnah Stadium. Resuming on 115 for 4, Rawalpindi slumped after their captain Naved Ashraf was dismissed for 59. Sialkot bowlers Naved Arif and Bilawal Bhatti took four wickets each but their batsmen's poor first-innings performance meant that Rawalpindi still had a lead of 108. Sialkot wiped out that deficit by reaching 153 by stumps on the second day but lost four second-innings wickets. Ayaz Tasawwar was unbeaten on 52 and Sialkot will look to him to stretch the lead, which is presently 45.
Islamabad's bowlers dismissed Peshawar cheaply in the first-innings at the National Ground, enabling their team to take a firm grip on the match by stumps on the second day. Peshawar resumed on 47 for 2 and were soon skittled for 156, conceding a first-innings lead of 100. Nasrullah Khan, who finished with 54 for 5, reduced them to 107 for 8 and only a 36-ball 40 from No. 10 Nauman Habib lifted the innings at the end. Habib, and his new-ball partner Riaz Afridi, took two wickets apiece to dent Islamabad's reply but the hosts reached 174 for 5, with a strong overall lead of 274.
Lahore Ravi opener Kashif Siddiq missed out on a century but his valuable 95 at the top allowed his team to edge a lead against Quetta in Lahore. Siddiq was eventually one of Arshad Khan's five wickets and the offspinner kept chipping away at the Lahore line-up. Mohammad Asim contributed an unbeaten 70 in the middle order and the hosts ended the day on 264, leading by 44 runs with only two wickets in hand.
Mohammad Hafeez remained unbeaten on 84 but Multan struggled in their reply to Abbottabad's first-innings total of 300 at Okara. Several other middle-order batsmen got starts but failed to make it count as Junaid Khan took 3 for 61 to restrict Multan to 207 for 7. Armaghan Elahi and Khalid Usman also took two wickets apiece for Abbottabad. Earlier in the day Multan had been dismissed for 300 after resuming on their overnight score on 279 for 9.