PIA, KRL, Hyderabad Hawks win opening encounters
Pakistan International Airlines beat Karachi Zebras by 100 runs after the latter were blown away for 79 in the first innings in Karachi. Aizaz Cheema and Najaf Shah shared all ten wickets between them, with Cheema taking 6 for 26 and Najaf picking up 4 for 33, to give their side a lead of 145. Before that, PIA had posted 224 after being asked to bat, with Zohaib Shera taking 5 for 36. PIA were 84 for 5 at one stage before forties from Faisal Iqbal and Sheharyar Ghani helped them recover. Faisal made an unbeaten 106 in the second innings after PIA had slipped to 27 for 3, while Fahad Iqbal scored 89. PIA declared on 248 for 4, setting Karachi 395 to win. Zeeshan Jamil and Owais Rehmani made fifties and Karachi were 146 for 2 before they unraveled to be dismissed for 294. Tahir Khan picked up 4 for 107.
Khan Research Laboratories roared back from an 80-run first-innings deficit to defeat Lahore Eagles by five wickets in Lahore. KRL chose to field and dismissed Lahore for 252, as Nauman Ali and Sadaf Hussain took seven wickets between them. Fahad-ul-Haq (75) was the only one to make a fifty, although No. 10 Bilawal Iqbal stretched the total past 250 with an unbeaten 42. Shoaib Ahmed made 80 in KRL's reply but the others crumbled against Asif Raza (5 for 54) and Shahid Nawaz (3 for 38) as KRL were dismissed for 172. Sadaf added five more wickets in Lahore's second innings to bowl them out for 154, which would not have been possible without Fahad's 108. There were six ducks in the innings and the next-highest score was Tanzeel Altaf's 26. KRL hunted down the target of 235 in the 66th over with opener Imam-ul-Haq scoring a patient, unbeaten 78, and Ali Khan contributing a brisk 54.
An unbeaten 157 from wicketkeeper-batsman Rehan Afridi helped Pakistan Television threaten a target of 480, but Hyderabad Hawks held on to claim a narrow 40-run victory. Pakistan Television suffered a woeful start to their second innings - their top three were dismissed for single-figures - but Zeeshan Mushtaq and Nawaz Ahmed made 92 each to provide the chase with stability. Afridi worked off that foundation, cracking 19 fours and a six, to keep Hawks' nerves on edge. But the other end was not as secure and a couple of run-outs helped snuff the chase at 439.
In the end, Pakistan Television were left ruing their first-innings performance. They had folded for 126, 23 of which came from extras. Only four players got to double-digits as seamer Babar Khan snared his maiden five-for. Hawks were similarly inept in their first innings until an unbeaten 103 from Lal Kumar. With some assistance from the tail, he took the score from 89 for 6 to a respectable 248. They did better in the second with Shoaib Laghari striking 106 off 105 balls. Mir Ali hammered eight fours and three sixes in a 41-ball 65 as Hawks cruised to 357 in 88.3 overs before declaring.
Medium-pacer Faisal Yasin picked up seven wickets in the match but his side, Faisalabad Wolves went away without any points in a rain-hit draw against State Bank of Pakistan, who picked up three points for their first-innings lead. State Bank chose to bat after winning the toss, and scored 305 thanks to half-centuries from Usman Salahuddin, Naved Yasin and the wicketkeeper Maqbool Ahmed. Yasin finished with figures of five for 86. Wolves made a good start to their reply, with their openers adding 59, but lost wickets regularly thereafter and were bowled out for 222, with the wicketkeeper Mohammad Miqdad top-scoring with 61. By the time their innings ended, the match was already into its fourth day, with only 27.3 overs of play possible on the third day. State Bank had more or less secured three points, and opener Mukhtar Ahmed ensured there would be no late hiccups with a 113-ball 64 as the team finished the match 122 for 3.
With rain wiping out most of the third day in Bahawalpur, Sui Southern Gas Corporation declared their second innings at 24 for 2 in an attempt to force a win after taking a 320-run first-innings lead. Bahawalpur Stags, however, held on for a draw with Moinuddin smashing an 87-ball 98 as the team, chasing 345, ended with 186 for 4 in 43 overs. Having chosen to bat, SSGC made 519, thanks to centuries from Usman Tariq and Awais Zia and 74 from the wicketkeeper Saifullah Bangash. Bahawalpur Stags' reply never really got going, despite a half-century from the opener Mohammad Yasir, and a five-wicket haul from left-arm spinner Mohammad Irfan sent them crashing to 199 all out.
Habib Bank Limited bowlers Umar Gul and Abdur Rehman made the final day's proceedings rather thrilling, but Sialkot Stallions clung on to a draw at home. It seemed the only result possible after Habib Bank's first innings stretched into the final day. There were four half-centuries, with Fakhar Zaman top-scoring with 90, to fuel a total of 430.
Sialkot's first-innings display, after being put in, was formidable as well. Atiq-ur-Rehman's 103 formed the foundation for a total of 351. They could have got more were it not for Gul's 5 for 90. Their second innings though was constantly plagued by wickets, entertaining prospects of a result. Gul dismissed opener Nauman Anwar for 9 and Atiq for 49, while left-arm spinner Rehman tested the lower-order's resolve with two quick wickets. Bilal Asif struck an unbeaten 51 on either side of the collapse and helped his side scrape to 148 for 8 at close of play.