Samiullah Khan sparks remarkable turnaround
Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited 368 and 117 for 2 (Naeemuddin 49*, Rehman 2-61) need another 105 runs to beat Habib Bank Limited 484 and 105 (Farhat 17, Samiullah 5-16)
What a difference an extra day makes. Had this been a four-day fixture, like the previous games in the competition, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited would have been justified in feeling deprived of a victory after sparking a remarkable turnaround. But the additional fifth day gives them an opportunity to take the title that they thoroughly deserve after battling to snatch the upper hand in a game where they had been the underdogs for the first three days.
Habib Bank Limited rested in a comfortable position at the start of the third day at the National Stadium in Karachi, leading by 116 on the first innings with all wickets intact. They would have entertained hopes of batting the opposition out of the game, but failed to measure up to the left-arm pace of Samiullah Khan, who nipped out five wickets for just 16 to bowl them out for 105.
The trouble began early for HBL, who lost their top order with just 15 on the board. The next stand yielded 31, but that remained the highest of the innings, as seven wickets fell for just 59. Samiullah was supported by opening bowler Asad Ali and fast bowler Imran Ali, who bagged two wickets each, to swing the game SNGPL's way.
HBL finished their innings with a lead of 221, setting a tricky target, but SNGPL's batsmen were prepared for the challenge. Their openers, Mohammad Hafeez and Naeemuddin, added 87. Hafeez and SNGPL's top scorer in the first innings, Raza Ali Dar, fell within a space of 12 runs but with Naeemuddin batting on 49 and the experienced Misbah-ul-Haq partnering him at the other end, they will back themselves to pull this one off.