Kaneria puts Habib Bank in control
Danish Kaneria continued his good form for Habib Bank Limited, taking his 63rd first-class five-wicket haul to spin out Multan for 140 on the opening day at the Multan Cricket Stadium. Habib Bank then batted themselves into a strong position by stumps, finishing with 198 for 4. Allrounder Kamran Hussain reduced Multan to 23 for 2 before Kaneria got in to the act, taking 6 for 35 as six batsmen fell for single-digit scores. Kaneria - who was dropped from the Pakistan squad after the first Test against England at Trent Bridge earlier this year - also picked up eight wickets in his side's first game against Faisalabad. Ahmed Shehzad, the 18-year old who has played for Pakistan, led Habib Bank's reply with an aggressive 76. Though they lost the wicket of captain Hasan Raza just before stumps, Habib Bank had the advantage going into day two.
Fast bowler Wasim Khan performed with both bat and ball as National Bank of Pakistan had Rawalpindi staring down the barrel at 59 for 5, after having been bowled out for 175 at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. Rawalpindi's fast bowlers had reduced National Bank to 86 for 7, including the wickets of Kamran Akmal and Umar Amin for single-digit scores. However, Wasim (36) supported opener Anwaar Hafeez (69) in a 45-run stand to lift their side from the doldrums. Nasir Malik, the 19-year old left-arm seamer, removed both Anwaar and Wasim to finish with 6 for 50, his maiden first-class five-wicket haul. Wasim replied in kind, his 4 for 25 leaving Rawalpindi limping at 59 for 5 at stumps.
Thirteen wickets fell at the United Bank Limited Sports Complex as Karachi Blues fought back after being dismissed for 215 by Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited. Fast bowlers Adil Raza and Zulqarnain took seven wickets between them as Karachi struggled to build partnerships. After the openers fell cheaply, the middle-order batsmen got starts, but the highest score was 46 from captain Saeed Bin Nasir, and the highest partnership was 49. Karachi's Adeel Malik then rounded off a productive day for fast bowlers, making inroads in the top order to leave SNGPL struggling at 22 for 3.
On a day of punches and counter-punches at the Sports Stadium in Sargodha, Water and Power Development Authority nipped a fightback by Faisalabad to bowl them out for 273. Fast bowler Kashif Raza struck with the second delivery of the match, and Umaid Asif and Faisal Virk took two wickets apiece as Faisalabad slid to 97 for 5. However, Ijaz Ahmed jnr, the 41-year old Faisalabad captain, and wicketkeeper Mohammad Salman revived the innings with a 147-run partnership. Kashif - who played an ODI in 2001 - returned to dismiss them both for 73 each. He then ran through the lower order, finishing with 6 for 46, as Faisalabad lost five wickets for 29 runs. The WAPDA openers negotiated three overs till stumps without any damage.
Pakistan International Airlines' bowlers came back strongly on the opening day at the Diamond Club Ground to restrict Islamabad to 230 for 9. Nauman Masood (57) and Ameer Khan (42) had added 96 runs after the early fall of Shoaib Khaliq to take Islamabad to a strong 104 for 1 before PIA struck. Seamers Kamran Sajid and Ali Imran picked up three wickets apiece while legspinner Zia-ul-Haq took two as Islamabad slumped to 163 for 8. Mohammad Kashif and Shehzad Azam's 50-run ninth-wicket stand took them past 200. Wicketkeeper Anop Santosh had a busy day, taking four catches and effecting one stumping.
Three half-centuries took Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited to a competitive 288 for 6 on the opening day against Sialkot at the Jinnah Stadium. ZTBL were in trouble in the morning after losing their openers with four runs on the board, but the middle order came to their rescue. Haris Sohail, captain Imran Nazir and Inam-u-Haq all scored half-centuries but ZTBL will be disappointed that none of them went on to make a big score. Inam and Haris played patiently while Nazir - who hasn't played a game for Pakistan since February this year - blazed away to 55 off 41 deliveries. After their dismissals, Sohail Tanvir - the seamer who last played against New Zealand in November 2009 - didn't let the innings falter and remained unbeaten on 48.