Multan's QEA woes continue
Multan are in horrendous form in the Quaid-E-Azam Trophy and that showed in their miserable capitulation against Rawalpindi at the Bahawal Stadium in Bahawalpur. However, it had seemed that they would be able to bounce back from their eight consecutive defeats when they bowled out Rawalpindi for 153 earlier in the day. Seamer Abdur Rauf took five wickets, new-ball partner Tahir Maqsood took four and had it not been for a half-century from Adnan Mufti's half-century and his 67-run stand with Muzammil Nizam for the seventh wicket, Rawalpindi would have faced an embarrassment. But they were able to inflict one on Multan, whose batting simply couldn't measure up to the pace of Rizwan Akbar, who took 6 for 50. They had been reduced to 57 for 7 at one stage and had to rely on Rauf again, this time with the bat, to take them past 100 with an unbeaten 28. The innings folded for 112, with a lead of 41 for Rawalpindi.
Bowlers dominated the opening day of the contest between Faisalabad and Sialkot at the Sports Stadium in Sargodha, claiming 16 wickets. Sialkot had the advantage at stumps after skittling out Faisalabad for 88, thanks to a maiden haul of six wickets by seamer Prince Abbas. Only four Faisalabad batsmen managed to reach double-figures. Sialkot gained a lead but lost six wickets in the process in their response, as left-arm spinner Hasan Mahmood took 4 for 36. Wicketkeeper Rizwan Sultan top scored with 30, while the others got starts, but was dismissed shortly before stumps, with Sialkot on 144 for 6, 56 ahead.
Table-toppers Habib Bank Limited were on the back foot in their encounter against Pakistan International Airlines at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad. Seamer Aizaz Cheema cut through the HBL top and middle orders to take 6 for 69 and bowl them out for 211 in just 58 overs. Tottering at 49 for 6, HBL recovered thanks to an attacking 82 from wicketkeeper Humayun Farhat, who fought hard with the tail to lend some respectability to the HBL score. PIA began well in their reply, with openers Khurram Manzoor and Agha Sabir adding an unbeaten 52 before stumps.
Islamabad had the advantage at the end of the opening day against Karachi Blues at the Diamond Club Ground in Islamabad. Seamers Nasrullah Khan, Rauf Akbar and Fakhar Hussain grabbed three wickets each to overcome starts by the Karachi top-order batsmen and a half-century from Atif Ali and bowl out the opposition for 237. Nasrullah took some stick, conceding 110 in 25 overs, but Karachi will rue the fact that they let it slip after being in a strong position at 118 for 2. In their reply, Islamabad lost opener Farrukh Hayat early and finished the day on 20 for 1.
National Bank of Pakistan and Water and Power Development Authority ended on almost even terms at the Jinnah Stadium in Sialkot. Rafatullah Mohmand, unbeaten on 86, helped WAPDA, currently placed second in the table, fight through a middle-order wobble and finish the day on 256 for 8. Openers Ahmed Said and Jahangir Mirza had laid a solid foundation with a stand of 83 but a collapse ensued where seven wickets fell for 94. Seamer Mohammad Talha picked up four wickets but Mohmand found support in Umaid Asif, with whom he added 62 for the eighth wicket. The extras proved useful as well, contributing 28 to the score.
Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited held the edge against Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. Opener Yasir Hameed starred with 95, including ten fours, and Shahid Yousuf contributed 80 to set up ZTBL's score of 294 for 5 at stumps. There was another significant contribution, of an unbeaten 51 by Haris Sohail, which helped consolidate the strong start provided by Hameed.