Shehzad stars as Habib Bank go top
Habib Bank Limited kept pace with Water and Power Development Authority at top of the table after the third round with a ten-wicket thrashing of Sialkot at the Jinnah Stadium. Their hero was 19-year-old Ahmed Shehzad, who played four one-day internationals for Pakistan last year. Shehzad first polished off the Sialkot tail with his legspinners, finishing with 4 for 20 to leave HBL a target of 161. Then, he opened the batting for HBL and powered them to victory with his fifth first-class century, a hurricane effort with four sixes and 17 fours. Bilal Shafayat, who also plays for Nottinghamshire, made a more patient 48 as HBL knocked off the target in 24.5 overs.
At the Diamond Club, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited completed an innings-and-12-run victory over Islamabad and moved to third spot. Starting the day trailing by 135, and having already lost four second-innings wickets, Islamabad could at best hope to salvage a draw. Overnight batsman, Zeeshan Mushtaq, made his third first-class century, but there was little support from his team-mates except for Rashid Amin (36). The pair put on 85 for the sixth wicket to take Islamabad within 21 runs of making ZTBL bat again, but left-arm quick bowler Mohammad Khalil and left-arm spinner Raza Hasan sparked a lower-order collapse - Islamabad sank to defeat as the last five wickets went down for nine runs.
In a thrilling match at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, 22-year-old fast bowler Asad Ali scythed through the Rawalpindi batting to snatch a 35-run win for Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited. Rawalpindi started the day on top, at 3 for 1 chasing a tiny target of 146. The day started well for them as their captain Babar Naeem and No. 3 Haseeb Azam guided the total to 47 for 1. After a couple of quick wickets, Naeem and Muzammil Nizam kept Rawalpindi on course for victory, taking them to 87 for 3. A spectacular collapse followed as Rawalpindi had no answer to Asad and Imran Ali - seven wickets going down for 23 runs, the final five for only six runs. It was SNGPL's second win of the season and leaves them in fourth spot.
There was no such excitement at the Iqbal Stadium, where Faisalabad and Pakistan International Airlines played out a draw. The first innings was completed about an hour into the final day's play, when Faisalabad were bowled out for 350, trailing by 88. Led by Shoaib Malik's half-century, PIA made a brisk 186 for 4 before declaring. Faisalabad had little chance of chasing down the target of 275 in 25 overs, and blocked their way to 51 for 2 before the match was called off.
The match at the National Stadium was also drawn, though it was a more interesting affair. Fawad Alam hit his ninth first-class hundred in a one-man show for National Bank of Pakistan, making 138 out of the 241 NBP managed, with six of the batsmen making single-digit scores. Karachi Blues were left with a target of 299 in 60 overs, which they set about chasing with gusto. Three quick wickets, though, reduced them to 68 for 3 after which they were more sedate. Akbar-ur-Rehman made a breezy maiden first-class hundred and put on 155 with Ahmed Iqbal, who scored a dour 52. Karachi ended up on 246 for 5 when the match was called off.
|Habib Bank Limited||4||3||0||0||1||0||30|
|Water and Power Development Authority||4||3||0||0||1||0||30|
|Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited||4||2||1||0||1||0||21|
|National Bank of Pakistan||4||2||0||0||2||0||18|
|Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited||4||2||0||0||2||0||15|
|Pakistan International Airlines||3||0||0||0||3||0||6|