WAPDA go top with innings victory
Water and Power Development Authority have gone clear of Habib Bank Limited at the top of the table after an innings and 82-run victory over Karachi Blues at the National Stadium in Karachi. WAPDA had won their prior two matches in just two days, and needed just 38.1 overs on day three, this time, to bowl Karachi out for 189 in their second innings. WAPDA captain Naved-ul-Hasan took 4 for 54 to take his match-haul to eight wickets, while seamer Umaid Asif finished with figures of 3 for 62 in the second innings. WAPDA had shown their intentions of winning the match early after declaring on Tuesday, 271 runs ahead. Karachi started the day on 19 for 1, and lost wickets consistently, their tail finally capitulating as the final four wickets fell for nine runs. Karachi opener Rameez Raja managed to hold up one end for a while, scoring 58, but the next highest scorer was extras with 25, as Karachi did little to improve their first innings batting performance, which saw them get 128. Karachi are just three points off the foot of the table.
Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited suffered a dramatic collapse as they fell to 57 all out, giving Islamabad a 73-run victory at the Diamond Club Ground in Islamabad. Islamabad seamer Nasrullah Khan took 7 for 31 to finish with ten wickets for the match, and Rauf Akbar chipped in with the other three wickets for Islamabad. SNGPL started the day on top and got Islamabad's last wicket without too much damage, leaving themselves a target of 130. The match had been a low-scoring affair till the third morning, with neither team having gone past the 200-mark in their first innings. SNGPL lost three early wickets, but a 20-run sixth-wicket stand put them in with a chance at 53 for 5. Nasrullah, though, ripped through the tail as SNGPL's last five wickets fell for four runs. The win gave Islamabad six points, which takes them up to sixth in the table, just one place behind SNGPL.
Multan's dismal season continued, as Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited consigned them to their fifth consecutive defeat, at the Multan Cricket Stadium. ZTBL neded just 28 overs on the third day to complete the nine-wicket win, after having reduced Multan to 149 for 7 on Tuesday. Multan at least forced ZTBL to bat again as debutant Mazhar Bashir scored 71 off 77 balls, to set target of 40. ZTBL seamer Iftikhar Anjum, who has played 62 ODIs for Pakistam, took Multan's last two wickets to finish with four for the innings and six for the match. ZTBL are now level on points with Habib Bank Limited in second position.
The run-fest at the Sports Stadium in Sargodha continued as Faisalabad moved to within 35 runs of National Bank of Pakistan's first-innings total of 467, with five wickets still in hand. Faisalabad look set to pick up their first points of the season as Asif Hussain's unbeaten 149 took them within touching distance of a first-innings lead. Faisalabad had responded well to NBP's big score, reaching 151 for 0 on Tuesday. And, after a couple of wickets fell early on the third day, Hussain held fort, batting through the rest of the day, and adding 90 runs for the fourth wicket with Faisalabad captain Naved Latif. The hosts' strong reply means that Kamran Akmal's double-century for NBP in their first innings may go rewardless.
Rawalpindi seamers Rizwan Akbar and Nasir Malik set up what should be an upset against Habib Bank Ltd at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. Akbar and Malik had shared seven wickets to bowl out HBL for 164 on Tuesday, and repeated the dose on the third day of the match, taking three scalps apiece to reduce HBL to 265 for 8 after the hosts had enforced the follow on. HBL are now just 39 runs ahead, and barring a miraculous recovery by their tail, Rawalpindi should have a fairly easy chase tomorrow. Malik and Akbar followed a similar formula to HBL's first innings, with Akbar getting the early wickets, and then Malik coming in to dismantle the middle-order. Aftab Alam and Khaqan Raja got half-centuries for HBL, but there was little back-up from the rest.
Sialkot got their foot in the door against Pakistan International Airlines, taking four wickets in the last session, after PIA had done well to dismiss the hosts for 274 in their first innings. Sialkot's opening bowlers, debutant Waqas Ahmed and Prince Abbas, struck early in PIA's second innings, reducing them to 3 for 2 at one stage. Ahmed struck again, as did fast bowler Mohammad Abbas, to leave PIA at 55 for 4 at stumps. PIA's first innings total of 388 means they have a 169-run lead, and Faisalabad will need to strike early tomorrow to make sure they don't have to chase too much. Sialkot had started the third day at the Jinnah Stadium at 142 for 3, and PIA seamer Ali Imran and Shoaib Malik, the former Pakistan captain, took four wicket each to get them out for 274.