Malik five-for sets up PIA victory against Multan
On a day when he was once again ignored by the Pakistan selectors, Shoaib Malik served a reminder of his skills with a match-winning five-wicket haul for Pakistan International Airlines as Multan slumped to a nine-wicket defeat at the Gymkhana Ground in Okara. Resuming their second innings at a nervy 27 for 3, Multan collapsed in a heap against Malik who picked up 5 for 14 in 6.5 overs. Ahmed Raza's 20 was the highest score as they surrendered for 72. PIA lost only one wicket as they knocked off the 35 runs required for victory.
Water and Power Development Authority and Rawalpindi were neck and neck at the end of the third day's play at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. Chasing 248 for victory, WAPDA had progressed to a dodgy 106 for 4, leaving both sides in the hunt going into the final day. Resuming their second innings at 77 for 4, the hosts quickly fell behind the eight ball with seamer Umaid Asif rattling the lower order with his second first-class five-for. Rawalpindi found their saviour in No. 8 Muzammil Nizam who defied WAPDA with an unbeaten 51. His tenth-wicket partnership of 61 with Rizwan Akbar could eventually prove to be the difference between the sides.
Akbar-ur-Rehman's second first-class ton steered Karachi Blues' quest to avert an innings defeat against Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited at the National Stadium in Karachi, but the visitors remained favourites going into the final day. Despite Akbar's unbeaten 145, Karachi Blues still trail by 58 runs with only four second-innings wickets in hand. Resuming at 54 for 0, they were quickly pegged back by the quick loss of the top three batsmen before Akbar settled in. He struck 20 fours in his effort, and steadied the ship along with captain Saeed Bin Nasir who made 66. The innings stuttered again after their 174-run stand, with ZTBL prising out three more wickets. They will look to complete the formalities on the final day, but Akbar's presence won't make their effort any easier.
Faisalabad's Mohammad Salman hit a counterattacking century that arrested a major top-order collapse and set up an exciting finish to their match against Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited at the Iqbal Stadium. Having conceded a 41-run first-innings lead, Faisalabad slumped to 32 for 5 and later 98 for 7, before Salman resurrected the innings. He found a willing ally in Rauf Nazir, and their unbroken 94-run stand will keep SNGPL worried. Earlier Khurram Shehzad added 34 vital unbeaten runs to his overnight 26, pushing SNGPL to a handy lead.
A sparkling 110-run stand between the overnight pair of Aftab Alam and Fahad Masood set up Habib Bank Limited for victory against Islamabad at the Diamond Club Ground. Aftab remained unbeaten after completing his fifth first-class ton while No. 10 Fahad Masood slammed 65 off 70 balls. HBL ended 300 runs ahead in the first innings and Islamabad finished the day still 104 behind with six wickets remaining. Half-centuries from Umair Mir and Zeeshan Mushtaq were the highlights of their second innings but only a big effort can avert a reversal on the final day.
Sialkot dawdled along at a questionable pace, consuming 31.4 overs to add 52 runs, but could not get the first-innings lead against National Bank of Pakistan at the Jinnah Stadium in Sialkot. In-form seamer Mohammad Talha eventually broke their resistance, finishing with a six-wicket haul, giving his side a 61-run advantage, which they bolstered by moving to 149 for 1 by stumps. Opener Nasir Jamshed led their progress with an unbeaten 65 and will look to step on the gas if they seek to declare and push for a win on the final day.