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January 28, 2013
Abbottabad held on for a draw against Group II leaders Rawalpindi in Swabi, despite having been bowled out in their first innings with a 352-run deficit. Having lead by 493 overnight, Rawalpindi chose to bat on, reaching 289 for 8 before declaring. That left Abbottabad with an unlikely target of 642 for victory but despite slipping to 80 for 5, they were only required to bat for 37 overs to secure the draw.
Rawalpindi's dominance was built on a career-best 183 by Umar Waheed, as they racked up 498 in the first innings. Saad Altaf and Hammad Azam then claimed four wickets apiece as Abbottabad were dismissed for 146 but, rather than enforce the follow-on, Rawalpindi chose to bat again. Umar Amin, Mohammad Nawaz and Adnan Mufti all made half-centuries, while Abbottabad's Aziz-ur-Rehman picked up five wickets but in the end there was not time to force a result.
Neither Bahawalpur or Karachi Whites could force a result in Multan, although the three points collected by Bahawalpur was enough to move them off the bottom of Group II. After making 362, largely thanks to Kamran Hussain's 139, Bahawalpur secured a slender first-innings lead by dismissing Karachi for 351, wicketkeeper Owais Rehmani making an unbeaten 146.
Four wickets for Faraz Ahmed left Bahawalpur's second innings in trouble at 109 for 6 but Kamran struck his second century of the match, to help haul the total up towards 250. With eight wickets down, Bahawalpur declared to set Karachi 257 to win and although they set off at a decent scoring rate, the chase was called off after 12 overs. The draw meant second-placed Karachi lost ground on Rawalpindi.
In Mirpur, Hyderabad condemned Faisalabad to their third defeat in five matches in a low-scoring encounter. Set 210 to win, Faisalabad were five down at the close of day three and could only muster another 32 runs to be dismissed for 122 and lose by 87 runs. Slow left-armer Nauman Ali claimed 4 for 31, while three other bowlers shared six wickets between them.
After being asked to bat first, Hyderabad made the highest score of the match, Sharjeel Khan and Lal Kumar making 63 and 64 respectively in a total of 254. Faisalabad then made 187, after being 18 for 4 early on, but they were given a chance by Asad Ali's 6 for 53 - to go with five wickets in the first innings - as Hyderabad could muster only 142. But that turned out to be more than enough.
In Group I, Karachi Blues extended their lead at the top despite failing to chase a target of 86 against Lahore Ravi. The match at the Gaddafi Stadium ended in a draw with Karachi 69 for 5 from 10 overs, as time ran out. Adnan Akmal's unbeaten 108 in Lahore's second innings helped his team to 305 all out, with Saadullah Ghauri absent injured, but it was a crucial ninth-wicket partnership of 64 that helped eat up enough time to deny Karachi victory.
After Imran Farhat's century had underpinned Lahore's 261, Karachi piled on the runs to build a lead of 220. Akbar-ur-Rehman was largely responsible for that advantage, compiling 225 - only his third first-class century and his highest score - but a second-innings half-century from Farhat and Adnan's rearguard with Asif Ashfaq staved off the possibility of defeat.
There was another draw across the city at the Lahore Cricket Association, as Quetta closed on 193 for 3 in pursuit of 270 to beat Sialkot. Again a stubborn lower-order partnership proved pivotal, as Mohammad Ayub (94 not out) added 52 runs with last man Mohammad Abbas. Fifties from Bismillah Khan, Ali Asad and Qaiser Abbas were not enough for Quetta, whose chase was abandoned after 54 overs.
Their target to win would have been the highest score of the match, after both teams failed to pass 250 in the first innings. Sialkot took the three points, having made 232 with half-centuries from Faisal Khan and captain Shoaib Malik, as Quetta subsided to 225 after a century opening stand between Bismillah and Mohibullah.
These results mean, with the group stage winding down, Karachi Blues, Karachi Whites, Hyderabad, Rawalpindi and Lahore Shalimar have already qualified for the Super Eights stage of the tournament. While only Karachi Blues have confirmed their place in Super Eights from Group I, the results in Group II in the final rounds will have no bearing on who progresses with Rawalpindi, Karachi Whites, Lahore Shalimar and Hyderabad securing all four spots from the group in that order.
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