Abdur Rehman puts HBL on top
Habib Bank Limited took the first day honours against Pakistan International Airlines in Islamabad, thanks to a five-for from left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman. PIA finished the first day on 206 for 9 owing to a strong bowling display from Habib Bank and a general failure on the part of their batsmen to push on after getting the starts. Shoaib Khan jnr scored 46, Jannisar Khan chipped in with 37 and Fahad Iqbal made 23 but the persistence of the HBL bowlers prevented the possibility of an imposing first-innings total. Seamer Irfan Fazil played an excellent supporting role, taking 3 for 43. For PIA, Tahir Khan remained unbeaten on 31 and his team will bank on him to extend its score to a more respectable one tomorrow.
Karachi Whites held the edge against Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited at the National Stadium. They lost two quick wickets at the death but finished the day on 314 for 7. SNGPL had started well, getting the first two wickets for 17, but a 153-run stand for the third wicket between Naved Khan (86) and Atif Ali (55) put them on track. Captain Afsar Nawaz (47) then continued the good work with wicketkeeper Mohammad Hasan (47) and took his team past 300. But both fell before stumps to enable SNGPL to haul things back a little. Offspinner Adnan Rasool bagged four wickets to bring his team back in contention, though Karachi have managed a competitive first-innings score and will look to build on it further on the second day.
National Bank of Pakistan were the side with the advantage against Pakistan Customs at the National Ground, but they could have reached a dominant position had they not lost four wickets in pursuit of 157. Their bowlers set up the day for them, skittling out Pakistan Customs for a paltry score - Mohammad Talha and Uzair-ul-Haq grabbed three wickets each. There was little resistance from Pakistan Customs - Jibran Khan making 34 and Ahmed Jamal an unbeaten 31 - but their bowlers gave them an opening, limiting NBP to 114 for 4 at stumps. Only Rashid Riaz, unbeaten on 77, held firm and remains crucial to his team's fortunes as it attempts to build a substantial lead.
Sui Southern Gas Corporation and Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited ended the first day at the Gaddafi Stadium, which celebrated its 50th year as an international venue, on even terms. SSGN, after being put in, started poorly, losing three wickets for 25, but recovered well. Captain Saeed Bin Nasir top scored with 74 and was assisted by Rizwan Ahmed (55) in a 114-run fourth-wicket stand. Wajid Ali (39) and wicketkeeper Ahmed Zeeshan (30 not out) consolidated the innings but a wicket at the death ensured there was little to choose between the teams at stumps. Abdul Razzaq, Azhar Attari and Zohaib Khan each took two wickets.
Faisalabad finished the first day at the Niaz Stadium in a position of advantage against Hyderabad. Ali Raza, Zahoor Khan and Ijaz Ahmed jnr each took three wickets to help bowl out Hyderabad for 301. Hanif-ur-Rehman top scored with 74 and there were important contributions of 30-plus runs from four other batsmen. Among them, Nasrullah Memon made 48 and Pir Zulfiqar scored 42, but Hyderabad would have wanted more from their batsmen, whose starts should have merited a bigger score. But Faisalabad grabbed wickets at the right time to counter the opposition and bowl them out to a gettable total. In reply, Faisalabad were 14 without loss.
Islamabad would have been disappointed to be bowled out for 182 but they struck back strongly to limit Abbottabad for 69 for 4 at stumps at the Diamond Club Ground. Only three Islamabad batsmen - Umair Khan, wicketkeeper Naeem Anjum and Shehzab Azam - got to double-figures but played an important role in posting a somewhat acceptable score after being reduced to 35 for 5 at one stage. Left-arm fast bowlers Junaid Khan and Armaghan Elahi were the chief wreckers, taking seven wickets between them. However, their efforts were a little undermined by Abbottabad's unimpressive reply. They did get a solid start, with the openers adding 39, but the next four wickets fell for just 24 - fast bowler Shehzad Azam took 3 for 47.
Medium-pacer Aamer Hayat bowled an excellent spell, taking four wickets for 20 runs in 17 overs for Lahore Ravi to put Rawalpindi on the back foot at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. Not that the Rawalpindi batsmen didn't bat well; five of them went past 30 but only one managed to reach a half-century. It was captain Naved Ashraf who led the way, making an unbeaten 57 but lost partners after they had got set. The openers had added 57, the second wicket yielded 46, Ashraf and Usman Saeed (32) added 87 but Hayat worked his charm at crucial times to put his team ahead. Rawalpindi ended the day at 201 for 5.
It is not often you have nine batsmen reaching double-figures and yet the team struggling to reach 300. But that's exactly what Quetta managed against Multan on the first day in Okara. Remarkably, the highest score was just 46, by Ashraf Khan, as Quetta reached 271 for 8 at stumps. Left-arm medium-pacer Rizwan Haider took 4 for 92, and Zulfiqar Babar, the left-arm spinner, bagged 3 for 69 to prevent any substantial partnership from taking root - the highest in the innings yet is 79. Wicketkeeper Bismisllah Khan is batting on 28 and will look to steer the team past 300.
Sialkot were in a strong position at stumps against Peshawar at the Jinnah Stadium, reaching 234 for 4. They were boosted by a century from Mohammad Idrees, who was backed up by 57 from captain Sajjad Ahmed, who was run out just before stumps, and Jamaluddin, who was unbeaten on 41. Ahmed featured in two sizable stands, adding 123 with Idrees and 87 with Jamaluddin to help lay the platform for a challenging first-innings total.