Red-hot Rameez downs Multan
Life just keeps on rolling for promising right-arm seamer Mohammad Rameez. While his Pakistan Under-19 career will be over after this January's World Cup in New Zealand, Rameez has ensured he's going into the tournament in red-hot form. Rameez followed an eight-wicket haul in Multan's first innings with five in the second as Rawalpindi clinched their fifth win of the season at the Multan Cricket Stadium.
Rawalpindi weren't able to extend a 217-run lead into much on the third morning but Rameez's haul proved more than sufficient. He single-handedly ran through the top and middle order and finished with 5 for 86. That took his season tally to 70 wickets at 18.34 and he now has eight five-wicket hauls and three ten-wicket bags in 2009. During the fifth round of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy he took 13 against Peshawar and then in the seventh round he took ten in a loss against Sialkot. Pakistan's selectors will definitely be keeping an eye on this talent in the months to come. Rawalpindi claimed nine points from this innings victory.
Lahore Ravi continued the good work put in on the field on day three at the Lahore City Cricket Association ground to set themselves up for a third win of the season. The final Islamabad wicket was taken quickly into the first session, the follow-on was promptly enforced, and by stumps Lahore needed two wickets to win. Junaid Zia wasn't able to replicate his first-innings form but made himself be counted, dismissing Zohaid Ahmed for 0 early and returning to cut off Umair Khan on 61. The lower middle order rallied to lead a recovery but at 285 for 8 the end is nigh for Islamabad.
Sialkot left themselves ten wickets to take on the final day of their match at the National Stadium, and Karachi Blues a mountain to surmount. A lead of 197 overnight was catapulted to 545 through a clutch of half-centuries, but it was a day of missed opportunities as far as personal milestones were concerned. Four batsmen crossed fifty and one fell just short, but their collective efforts stretched Sialkot's second innings to 445 in 92.3 overs. The most fruitful knocks came down the order from Nayyer Abbas (66 from 61 balls) and Adeel Malik (79 from 91) after a pair of middle-order half-centuries above them. Karachi Blues' opening bowlers, Tanvir Ahmed and Tariq Haroon, took four wickets apiece. In six overs, Karachi Blues went to stumps on 13 for 0.
Quick bowler Arun Lal's six wickets, which had kept Hyderabad's lead to 16, were reciprocated by Quetta's batsmen in Mirpur Khas. Arun's effort didn't help Hyderabad squeaking a first-innings lead, but with a lead of 223 and six wickets in hand, Quetta can push for an outright win on day four. Hyderabad's final three wickets fell for 28 in the morning with Lal taking two of them, and a tiny deficit was quickly erased by Quetta. Bismillah Khan (69), Shoaib Khan jnr (35), Taimur Ali (54) and Ata-ur-Rehman (35*) chipped in to boost Quetta's shot at a win.
A maiden double century from Zeeshan Asif coupled with former Pakistan batsman Ijaz Ahmed jnr's 33rd first-class ton gave Faisalabad three points for a first-innings lead at the Sports Stadium in Sargodha. Faisalabad had resumed the day trailing by 166, with Zeeshan on 45, and he masterfully numbed Abbottabad into submission in Ijaz's company. The pair extended their overnight stand of 48 into a massive 302-run alliance, with Ijaz contributing 149. The next five wickets went down for 67 runs but Zeeshan was able to find enough support to cross 200 and get Faisalabad's lead to 155.
Habib Bank Limited rounded off a dominant league phase with a 117-run win over Lahore Shalimar at the Gaddafi Stadium. Starting the day at 186 for 9, HBL again showed the tenacity that has guided them into the finals, with the last wicket pair of Irfan Fazil and Shahid Nazir adding 77 more runs. That set a challenging target of 256. Lahore's chase started well, the openers adding 45 but things went downhill from there. The openers were the only Lahore batsmen to make it to double digits, and the team folded for 138 with left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman taking five wickets.
Khan Research Laboratories knocked off the 159 needed to win against Pakistan Customs in only 35.4 overs at Rawalpindi. They took only three overs to nip out the last Customs wicket, after which 70s from openers Saeed Anwar jnr and Sohaib Maqsood propelled them to four short of the target. Maqsood was then dismissed, but five minutes later a nine-wicket victory was confirmed.
Karachi Whites were in sight of a come-from-behind victory over Sui Southern Gas Corporation at the Southend Club Cricket Stadium. Karachi struck twice early in the first session but Rizwan Ahmed's unbeaten 92 shepherded SSGC to 182, setting a target of 223. Half-centuries from opener Mohtashim Ali (75) and No. 4 Afsar Nawaz (59), both of whom remained unbeaten, pushed Karachi to a solid 175 for 2.
It was a similar situation at Faisalabad, where National Bank of Pakistan were on course for a win over Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited despite conceding a first-innings lead. Left-arm spinner Qaiser Abbas and fast bowler Mohammad Talha wrecked SNGPL, bowling them out for 150 in the second innings. Opener Mohammad Hafeez was the only SNGPL batsman to make a significant contribution, with a 56. NBP were well placed to overhaul the 208 needed for the win, after a 51 from opener Nasir Jamshed took them to 110 for 1.
A draw seemed the likeliest result at the Diamond Club Ground, where Pakistan International Airlines are 50 ahead after losing one wicket in their second innings against Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited. Resuming from 251 for 4, ZTBL stretched their first innings to 373, thanks to Haris Sohail's 81 giving them a first-innings lead of 100. PIA replied strongly, opener Kamran Sajid's unbeaten 79 taking them to 150 for 1 at stumps.