Habib Bank, State Bank register comfortable wins
Seamer Ehsan Adil and left-arm spinner Mohammad Aslam took nine wickets between them in Water and Power Development Authority's chase of 336 to power Habib Bank to a 184-run victory in the President's Trophy in Lahore. Aslam ripped through the top order before Adil, who ended with nine wickets in the match, mopped up the lower order as WPDA lost seven wickets for 41 runs. Opener Mohammad Ibrahim was their highest scorer with 46 runs.
This bowling performance steered the match towards Habib Bank, as in the entire game before, the contest was largely even. Although there wasn't any century, six half-centuries and four scores of more than 40 by the team in the match helped both sides to match their opponent's scores.
Habib Bank, after put in to bat, started well with a 94 from No. 3 Shan Masood and 84 from Usman Salahuddin, as the duo added 149 runs for the third wicket, the highest in the match. But they slipped from 225 for three to 228 for seven, to finally be bowled out for 288. Junaid Khan accounted for maximum damage, with six middle-order scalps.
His team, though, was in trouble early in their innings, as they were reduced to 13 for seven before Bilal Khilji led their recovery with a 75, as seven single-digit scores hurt them in their innings of 235. Adil took four wickets.
Habib Bank's second innings was based on consistent batting from the middle order. Three fifties and two scores of more than 30 took them to 282, and an overall lead of 335 proved enough for victory eventually.
In Faisalabad, legspinner Yasir Shah bowled Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) to a commanding 219-run victory over Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) with a six-wicket haul. Chasing 304, KRL were all out for 84, with a 36-run stand being the only resistance put up by them as Shah mopped up the tail. Their first-innings score of 183 also hurt them, as they fell behind in the match with a deficit of 108 runs.
Fast bowler Samiullah Khan was responsible for most of the damage done in that innings, as he took six wickets. The highest score in the innings, 32, scored by Saeed Anwar junior, turned out to be the highest score for KRL in the match.
For SNGPL, a confident batting performance with effective contributions from the top and middle order helped them to 291. Mohammad Hafeez was their major star, with a 95 in their second innings, as their first-innings lead enabled them to make a declaration at 195 for four. The 300-plus target proved far beyond KRL.
Despite National Bank of Pakistan's spirited chase of 390, led by captain Fawad Alam's unbeaten 112, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) inflicted an 84-run defeat in Sialkot. The 150-run first-innings deficit proved decisive as NBP's chase was kept alive by the lower order led by Wahab Riaz, who scored a fifty and stuck with his captain, adding 88 runs for the eighth wicket. But at 275 for eight, Junaid Zia helped ZTBL snatch victory by taking the last two wickets for 18 runs.
The victory was set up by their commanding batting in their first innings. Opener Sharjeel Khan scored a century, and Atif Ashraf and Zohaib Khan were dismissed for 79 and 80 respectively to take them to 372. Although NBP started their reply strongly to be 171 for three at a stage, their innings fell thereafter, courtesy wickets off seamers Mohammad Khalil and Rehan Riaz to be dismissed for 222.
A 92 by opener Afaq Raheem and a 57 by fellow opener Sharjeel Khan laid the base for a strong second-innings total by ZTBL. They lost their way towards the end of their innings, but at 239 for eight, decided to declare. NBP gave them a scare, falling short of the target by 85 runs.
State Bank of Pakistan's confident chase of 200, led by half-centuries by captain and opener Kashim Siddiq and Usman Saeed, took them to a six-wicket win against Port Qasim Authority (PQA) at the National Stadium in Karachi. In a low-scoring game, with five fifties in the match, PQA were dismissed for 160 in their second innings, helped by a total of seven wickets between left-arm spinner Hasan Maqbool and offspinner Adnan Rasool, for SBP to end up with a gettable target.
PQA, after electing to bat, scored a modest 218 with half-centuries from opener Shahzaib Hasan and Umar Amin. Seven single-digit scores couldn't allow them to a strong total to be in a strong position early in the match. Maqbool was the highest wicket-taker with four wickets - he eventually ended up with eight wickets in the match - in a collective bowling effort by SBP.
They, however, kept losing wickets in their reply, and apart from contributions from Gulraiz Sadaf, who scored 50, and Mohtashim Ali, no one provided any resistance to PQA's bowling. Seamer Abdur Rauf took four wickets. PQA's low second-innings total pegged them back, and SBP seized the chance to chase a small target.
A low first-innings total of 125 hurt United Bank Limited as they were defeated by 69 runs by Pakistan International Airlines at the United Bank Limited Sports Complex in Karachi. Chasing 312, they were bowled out for 242, which had contributions mainly from No. 3 Saad Sukhail, who scored 93, Ali Asad and Abid Ali. They lost their last five wickets for 38 runs, which ended the contest.
PIA's second innings score of 222 helped them set a 300-plus target. Although left-arm spinner Kashif Bhatti took five wickets and Shabbir Ahmed four, fifties by opener Agha Sabir and captain Kemran Sajid, and a 41 by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed helped them finish strongly.
The turning point, it seemed, was their bowling UBL out for a paltry total in their first innings, with eight single-digit scores to concede a deficit of 89 runs. Akhtar Waheed and seamer Aizaz Cheema took three wickets apiece.
The team's foundation of the match was laid by fifties from opener Shehzad Mohammad and Sarfraz Ahmed, which took them to 214.