HBL v SNGPL, Pentangular Cup final, Karachi, 3rd day February 2, 2010

Abdur Rehman spins contest HBL's way

Cricinfo staff

Habib Bank Limited 1 for 0 (Masood 1*, Umar 0*) and 484 lead Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited 368 (Raza 84, Akmal 70, Rehman 4-106) by 117 runs

Habib Bank Limited gained the upper hand on the third day against Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited at the National Stadium in Karachi, as their bowlers hit back after a strong response from the batsmen, helping their team gain a crucial first-innings lead of 116.

SNGPL began the third day on 140 for 2, still a fair distance from HBL's 484. Raza Ali Dar and captain Misbah-ul-Haq, the overnight batsmen, had strung together a 120-run stand to revive the innings but Abdur Rehman, the left-arm spinner, struck to dismantle the pair. Raza top scored with 84 and was aided in a 45-run stand by Usman Arshad, and at 210 for 3, SNGPL were in a position to upstage the HBL total. But Rehman (4-106) , and seamers Kamran Hussain (3-67) and Fahad Masood (2-82), caused a middle-order wobble, as four wickets fell for 58.

Wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal scored an aggressive 70, striking 11 boundaries and was supported by Imran Ali's 39, but the late resistance, though admirable, fell significantly short of handing SNGPL a first-innings advantage, With three 50-plus scores and six of above 30, SNGPL will be disappointed none of the batsmen managed three-figures in a crunch game.

SNGPL were eventually bowled out for 368, conceding a 116-run lead and though the proceedings thus far might point towards a draw, a five-day fixture for the final opens throws open the possibility of an outright winner.