Samiullah helps SNGPL march to top spot in Group A
A fine exhibition of fast bowling from left-armer Samiullah Khan ensured Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) roared to the top of the points table at the expense of Habib Bank Limited (HBL). Samiullah picked up 6 for 32 at the Diamond Club Ground to bundle out HBL for 179, chasing 253. Abdur Rehman finished with a five-for earlier in the day, as SNGPL could add 26 to their overnight score of 230 for 8. But an insipid reply, barring Kamran Hussain's fighting 59, followed from HBL, as Samiullah had the batsmen floundering with his pace. The win now has them six points clear of HBL on the points table.
Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) held their nerve to eke out a narrow one-wicket win against Karachi Whites at the National Bank of Pakistan Sports Complex. They looked to be in trouble at 152 for 6 when play resumed, still needing 107 for the win, but wicketkeeper Ahmed Said's confident 73 helped ease the nerves. Umaid Asif weighed in with 26, but it was Azharullah's slow 35 off 117 balls which proved to be the decisive blow to Karachi's hopes. He remained till the end as WAPDA sneaked home in the 42nd over of the day.
Mohammad Wasim's sparkling century was the highlight of the day as National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) had to be content with first-innings points against Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) in Rawalpindi. The KRL captain was in good touch and led from the front even as they lost Azhar Ali early on. Even though he retired hurt earlier in the innings, he returned, and was supported well by Bazid Khan who hit an unbeaten 69. Left-arm spinner Qaiser Abbas was the pick of the NBP bowlers with 3 for 73.
Suleman Khan's quickfire 61 proved crucial as Lahore Shalimar held on for a draw against Sui Southern Gas Corporation (SSGC) at the Gaddafi Stadium. Resuming on 90 for 2 in their second innings, SSGC declared on 183 for 5, with Imran Abbas top scoring with 66. Set a target of 299, Lahore Shalimar's openers began strongly, putting on 52. But even as Shakeel-ur-Rehman and Dilawar Khan regularly dented the Lahore batting order, sharing five wickets between them, Suleman stood brave. He struck nine fours and two sixes during his 59-ball innings as Lahore finished on 217 for 6.
A disciplined performance from the Zarai Tarqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) bowlers ensured the full points against Pakistan Customs at the Marghzar Cricket Ground. Beginning the day on 5 for 1, the 325 that Customs needed for victory was a far shout. ZTBL right-arm fast bowler Rehan Riaz showed them no mercy as he sent back three of the top five batsmen. Left-arm spinner Zohaib Khan provided able back-up with three wickets. Asad Baig (77) and Rameez Aziz (88) hit fluent fifties as Customs succumbed by the 73rd over for 303.
|Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited||6||6||0||0||0||0||48||2753/324.1||2506/0.0|
|Habib Bank Limited||7||5||1||0||1||0||42||2654/245.1||2393/0.0|
|Pakistan International Airlines||6||3||1||0||2||0||33||-9.608||1607/126.3||1718/77.0|
|National Bank of Pakistan||7||3||2||0||2||0||33||-41.889||2257/233.4||2165/42.0|
|Water and Power Development Authority||7||3||1||0||3||0||27||-12.926||1810/204.4||1669/76.4|
|Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited||6||3||2||0||1||0||24||-352.484||2230/178.1||2190/6.0|
|Sui Southern Gas Corporation||6||1||3||0||2||0||12||+15.521||1426/60.3||1622/201.3|
|Khan Research Laboratories||6||1||3||0||2||0||9||+3.385||1731/133.0||1865/193.4|
Islamabad survived a scare from Peshawar at the National Ground to record their second win of the competition, by 37 runs. Azam Jan scored a determined 115 and was assisted ably by the lower order who brought their team within reach of what had, on day three, seemed an improbable win. His innings, laced with ten fours and a six, kept Peshwar's hopes alive in their chase of 393 - they were 249 for 7 overnight - while the Islamabad bowlers tried hard to make inroads. Jan added 29 with Azam Jan (14) for the eighth wicket, 37 for the ninth with Nauman Habib, who survived 47 balls for his six runs, and last man Hamad-ul-Hasan, with whom he put together 45 before being dismissed by Shehzad Azam. Islamabad took home nine points and are currently fifth in the table.
Multan moved to fourth place in the rankings with a seven-wicket win over Abbottabad in Okara. Set a testing target of 230 on the final day, Multan raced to a win, pacing their innings to perfection and reaching their destination in just 53.4 overs. Wicketkeeper Gulraiz Sadaf was their star, as he smashed a 151-ball 118, including 15 fours and two sixes, to set up his team's successful chase. He was involved in two important stands: 72 with opener Kashif Naved (30) which helped Multan recover from the early loss of Babar Ali and a match-winning 141 with Shahid Abbasi (56) for the third wicket. Though Abbottabad - who are now placed seventh - were ineffective with the ball, they did put up a good fight with the bat to extend their lead. They began overnight on 156 for 8, but the tail added a further 48 to give their bowlers a challenging target to defend, but its efforts were in vain.
Sialkot picked up nine points to go level with their opponents Rawalpindi, as they beat them by 158 runs at the Jinnah Stadium. Sialkot declared overnight to set Rawalpindi an imposing target of 386 to chase on the final day; it was more than adequate, as left-arm spinner Nayer Abbas picked up a career-best 5 for 37, and was backed up by Naved Arif's 3 for 72, to bowl out Rawalpindi for 227 in under 60 overs. Not that Rawalpindi didn't give it a try; their openers added 57 and Zahid Mansoor top scored with 60 but there was little support forthcoming from the others and they slipped to 158 for 7. Rashid Latif (38) and Mohammad Rameez (21 not out) put up some resistance but the game was over by then.
Table-toppers Karachi Blues reached a strong position against Faisalabad at the National Stadium, securing a first-innings lead of 41 by bowling out the opposition for 360 - Tariq Haroon taking 6 for 127 - and then extending it to 122 at stumps, thanks to their top order. Faisalabad were 160 for 4 at the start of the day, and Zeeshan Asif, the overnight batsman, progressed to a handy 73. The middle order stepped up, too, with Ijaz Ahmed jnr and Naved Latif smashing half-centuries to reduce the deficit and take Faisalabad to 360, which ensured that a loss from there on was highly unlikely but could not prevent Karachi from gaining a first-innings advantage.