Umair, Azam boost Islamabad
Islamabad were in complete command at the end of an action-packed second day against Abbottabad at the Diamond Club Ground. Abbottabad squandered yesterday's hard work, when they had bowled Islamabad out for 182, by crumbling to just 100. Starting the day on a shaky 69 for 4, they added just 31 more, proving no match to the combination of seamer Shahzad Azam, who took 5 for 65, and Nasrullah Khan, as they shared nine wickets between them to give their team an 82-run lead. Abbottabad were fortunate to reach the three-figure mark, thanks to 23 extras, that proved the joint top-scorer.
Islamabad's batsmen made amends for their shoddy display in the first innings, piling up 319 for the loss of five wickets. Umair Khan led the way with a career-best, unbeaten 163 and was aided by Fahad Akram's 59; the pair added 150 for the fifth wicket. The only consolation for Abbottabad on a terrible day was left-arm fast bowler Junaid Khan's 5 for 136 to go with his four-wicket haul in the first innings. By the end of the day, Islamabad led by an intimidating 401.
A collective batting display from Faisalabad handed them the advantage over Hyderabad at the Niaz Stadium. Bouyed by Naved Latif's 105, Faisalabad secured a lead of 25 at stumps by reaching 326 for 4. There were important contributions from Ammar Mahmood (36), opener Imran Ali (30) but the best supporting hand for Naved came from Zeeshan Asif, who made an unbeaten 85 and added 156 for the fourth wicket. Naved scored at a healthy rate, striking 14 fours and a six in his 147-ball innings before falling to seamer Mir Ali.
Lahore Ravi had the edge against Rawalpindi at the conclusion of day two at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground. A career-best 6 for 29, in 19 overs, from medium-pacer Aamer Hayat helped Lahore bowl out the opposition for 271, allowing them to add just 70 to their overnight score of 201 for 5. Rawalpindi captain Naved Ashraf top scored with 74 but needed more support from the rest today to take his team to a more challenging score. But Hayat, along with seamer Waqas Ahmed (3 for 66), caused a collapse where Rawalpindi lost their last five wickets for just 36. Asif Khan made a patient 42 in Lahore's reply but fell with the score on 73. Wahaj Aslam, unbeaten on 3, guided his team to 94 for 2 at stumps - still 177 adrift - in a slow response; they batted 53.1 overs.
Left-arm spinner Jalat Khan was the star for Quetta, as he bagged best figures of 6 for 35 against Multan in Okara to put his team on top. Multan's reply to Quetta's 305 was weak, for they were skittled out for 178 and conceded a 127-run lead. Rameez Alam made 48, and added 78 with Naved Yasin, who made 35. But from then on, wickets fell at frequent intervals - fast bowler Imran Khan and Arshad Khan chipped in with two wickets each - and the batsmen who followed offered little resistance. Quetta would have disappointed with their performance with the bat in the first innings; nine out of 11 batsmen reached double-figures but the team managed a respectable, yet an underachieved, 305. But Jalat's bowling display made amends for that and has given Quetta a genuine chance of victory.
Peshawar ceded the initiative to Sialkot at the Jinnah Stadium. They were comfortably placed at 234 for 4 at the start of the second day but went on to extend to to just 295. The last six wickets fell for just 61, thanks to a meek surrender from the middle and lower orders to the medium-pace of Bilawal Bhatti, who finished with 6 for 94. The Sialkot reply was strong, and they ended the day on top on 183 for 1. Majid Jahangir and Faisal Khan were unbeaten on 74 and 57 respectively, and had added 119 for the second wicket. Opener Kamran Younis had set up a solid start with a breezy 41 before his team-mates had the laid the platform for a successful overhaul of the Peshawar score and a sizable lead.
An unbeaten 117 from captain Hasan Raza enabled Habib Bank Limited to build on the advantage they had gained on day one against Pakistan International Airlines in Islamabad. PIA were 206 for 9 overnight and folded for 224, left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman taking 6 for 52. The HBL reply was unconvincing at the start, as they lost three wickets for 44. But Raza led the fightback and was assisted by Aftab Alam, who added 70 in a fourth-wicket stand of 116, and wicketkeeper Humayun Farhat, who scored better than a run a ball for his 64 while putting together 99 for the sixth wicket. Raza struck 11 fours and a six in his innings, steering his team into the lead, which had increased to 71 at stumps, as HBL finished the day on 295 for 7.
Karachi Whites are in a position to force an innings-win over Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited at the National Stadium. First, Misbah Khan, batting at No.10, frustrated PIA in a final-wicket stand of 62 with last man Malik Aftab. The partnership took Karachi from 342 for 9 to 404. Misbah made 65 and the SNGPL bowlers didn't help their cause by conceding 50 extras, including 23 no-balls. Then, in the SNGPL reply, fast bowler Tabish Khan tore through the line-up, taking 6 for 112, to skittle out the opposition for 199 and secure a lead of 205. Misbah delivered again, taking 3 for 41, to lend Tabish support amid a disappointing display from SNGPL, who only managed a top score of 44, courtesy captain Azhar Shafiq. The only highlight for them was offspinner Adnan Rasool's five-for.
Centuries from Rashid Riaz and Qaiser Abbas put National Bank of Pakistan on top against Pakistan Customs at the National Ground. After bowling out Pakistan Customs for 157 yesterday, NBP were not in the best position when beginning today at 114 for 4. But Rashid had notched up 77 and he progressed to his third first-class century while adding 82 for the fifth wicket with Wahab Riaz, who chipped in with 44. Rashid fell with the score on 174, but Wahab hung on to provide company to the belligerent Abbas, who smashed an unbeaten 136 in 134 balls, striking 12 fours. The pair added 103 before Abbas was further aided by wicketkeeper Amin-ur-Rehman, who made 40 and put together 99 for the seventh wicket before being dismissed. NBP had reached 376 for 7, a lead of 219, and opted to declare. In their second innings, Pakistan Customs stuttered to 45 for 1 as they attempt to wipe out a sizable deficit and the avoid the embarassment of an innings defeat.
Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited are in control against Sui Southern Gas Corporation at the Gaddafi Stadium. SSGC were only able to add 34 more runs to their overnight score and were bowled out for 264. Abdul Razzaq and Azhar Attari grabbed four wickets each to tilt the balance in ZTBL's favour after the game had finished more or less on even terms on day one. Their batsmen, then, led a strong reply with openers Zulqarnain Haider (75) and Zohaib Khan (63) adding 147. However, both fell to Shakeel-ur-Rehman in very quick succession before Imran Nazir's swift, unbeaten 24 took ZTBL to 180 for 2 at stumps, still 84 adrift.
Water and Power Development Authority, boosted by an unbeaten 132 from opener Rafatullah Mohmand, took the honours on the opening day of the contest against Khan Research Laboratories in Rawalpindi. Asked to bat, WAPDA were given a strong start, with the openers adding 66. Mohmand added a further 56 with Sohail Nasir (22) but fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, who finished the day with 3 for 96, grabbed two wickets with the score on 122. But Mohmand stood firm, stabilising the innings with a 96-run stand with Jahangir Mirza, and taking his team to a comfortable 279 for 4 at stumps with assistance from Ali Azmat, who contributed a quick, unfinished 33.