Taufeeq Umar century inspires HBL
Karachi Blues 215 (Shahzaib 67, Rehman 4-52) and 175 for 9 (Asim 49*, Rehman 3-14) lead Habib Bank Limited 195 (Umar 100*, Tanvir Ahmed 5-85) by 195 runs
Perhaps the first day's drama was just a trailer, as another amazing day's action and a power shift followed at the National Stadium. If Habib Bank Limited (HBL) were down in the dumps at 95 for 7 in reply to Karachi Blues' first-innings total of 215, Taufeeq Umar's sparkling hundred on the second day provided the shot in the arm for their bowlers. Having conceded a meagre lead, a disciplined performance with the ball had Karachi in tatters with just the last pair at the crease - the lead of 195 similar to HBL's first-innings score.
Umar began the day unbeaten on 36 and his strokeplay gave the impression that the devils in the pitch on the first day had been exorcised. His fourth hundred in the tournament was laced with 11 boundaries and he teamed up well with the tail to give them hope of a lead. But Mohammad Sami's twin strikes, meant Umar had carried his bat through as HBL finished short by 20.
Buoyed by the opener's fighting spirit, right-arm fast bowler Sarmad Anwar dealt two crucial blows at the top of the order, sending back openers Shahzaib Hasan and Khalid Latif. Younis Khan did no harm to his credentials as a bowler taking out Ali Asad, before Asad Shafiq and Asim Kamal combined for a fourth-wicket stand of 53 - the highest of the innings.
But once Shafiq departed for 45, a slide followed with the next five wickets falling for just 45 runs. The wrecker-in-chief was left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman who finished with tidy figures of 10-2-14-3.
Karachi's hopes now solely lie with Kamal, who was unbeaten on 49, and any additional runs from here on will only make HBL's chase to the title more daunting. With 12 wickets falling on the second day - 17 on the first - the pitch still looks to be a bowler's paradise and the champions may well be decided tomorrow.