Wagging tail puts HBL in driver's seat
Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited 140 for 2 (Ali Dar 62) trail Habib Bank Limited 484 (Humayun Farhat 80, Farhan Iqbal 69, Asad Ali 4-105) by 344 runs
Habib Bank Limited's tail wagged well into the second day to put their side in a strong position, before Sui Northern Gas Pipelines' batsmen made light of two early losses to put up a promising riposte in the Pentangular Cup final at the National Stadium. Resuming at 315 for 6, HBL lost the wicket of Abdul Rehman early, before being shored up by two substantial stands. First, Farhan Iqbal and Irfan Fazil added 65 for the eighth wicket, to push the total close to 400. HBL then struck twice to reduce the score to 403 for 9, but any hopes of wrapping up the innings quickly were scuppered by a spirited tenth-wicket stand between Fazil and No. 11 Mohammad Aslam. Aslam eventually departed for 45, becoming Asad Ali's fourth scalp after pushing the score to 484 - a strong recovery from 245 for 6. Fazil was undefeated on 60, having crossed the ropes on five occasions. If not for Raza Ali Dar's part-time left-arm spin which accounted for two wickets, SNGPL's agony could have well lasted even longer.
Opening bowlers Fahan Masood and Kamran Hussain struck twice to leave SNGPL gasping at 45 for 2, before Dar came to their rescue for the second time in the day. His 104-ball 62 anchored the innings, and he struck five fours and a six to take his side to stumps, still 344 runs behind a first-innings lead. He added 95 with captain Misbah-ul-Haq, whose 30 included six boundary-hits. The pair will look to extend their association on the third day, against a HBL attack that can continue to be aggressive, on the back of a lead that is still substantial.