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January 1, 2011
Ali Azmat's half-century combined with some strong lower-order batting helped Water and Power Development Authority post a challenging first-innings score of 369 for 9 declared against Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad. Azmat led all batsmen with 79, laced with 12 boundaries, as the last five wickets added 222. He was ably supported by Sarfraz Ahmed, who made 33, and Umaid Asif, who made 47, whil Kashif Raza chipped in with an unbeaten 31. Left-arm spinner Zohaib Khan was the best of the bowlers, taking 3 for 45.
Both teams are still in the hunt for a spot in the finals, but probably need an outright win to get there, so ZTBL opener Yasir Hameed came out swinging the bat with intent. He had reached 18 from 21 balls, with three fours, before seamer Umaid Asif had him caught behind. At stumps, ZTBL were 34 for 1.
Rain continued to play spoilsport on the second day of the game between Sialkot and Rawalpindi, with only 29 overs being bowled, but that was enough for the Rawalpindi bowlers to reduce Sialkot to 16 for 4, before the hosts staged a semi-recovery to end the day on 89 for 5 at the Jinnah Stadium in Sialkot. Rizwan Akbar produced a devastating opening spell to remove three of the top four batsmen, claiming two wickets with two balls, while Sadaf Hussain prised out Sialkot captain Mansoor Ajmad. Majid Jehangir and Shehzad Malik then added 49 to stem the rot somewhat before Jehangir was caught behind off the bowling seamer Nasir Malik for 34. Shehzad and Nabeel Malik then managed to avoid further damage, with the former on 22 and the latter on 14. Rawalpindi are currently tied second in the points table with Water and Power Development Authority, and potentially need a big win to qualify for the finals.
A half-century by Mohammad Kashif got Islamabad back into their game against Multan on a curtailed day at the Multan Cricket Stadium. Islamabad were in trouble after they lost two quick wickets on the second morning to leave them at 48 for 4 in response to Multan's 244. But, Kashif's 61 and contributions from Imad Wasim and Kamran Hussain helped them recover to 189 for 6 by the end of the 46 overs that were played on the day. Multan seamer Tahir Maqsood dismissed overnight batsman Zeeshan Mushtaq and then got Faizan Riaz for a duck next ball. Kashif and Farrukh Hayat shared a 54-run partnership before Hayat was run out. Kashif got his runs quickly, hitting 10 boundaries in his innings. For Multan, who have lost all of their ten games so far this season, the match is a last hope to gain some pride, while Islamabad can finish no higher than eighth even if they win.
Karachi Blues managed to take a 72-run first-innings lead against Faisalabad by the end of the second day at the National Stadium in Karachi. It didn't look like that would happen after the first few overs of Karachi's innings. Faisalabad fast bowler Ahmed Hayat ripped out three early wickets to leave them 3 for 3, and facing a top-order collapse. Unfortunately for Faisalabad, Hayat could only bowl five overs in the day, and Rameez Raja (2) counterattacked, racing to 67 off 55 balls. Most of Karachi's middle-order batsmen got starts but left-arm spinner Hasan Mahmood kept chipping away at the wickets, picking up five in the end, as Karachi were all out for 264. The lead was pushed past the 50-run mark thanks to a 57-run tenth-wicket stand between Babar Rehman and Malik Aftab.
Habib Bank Limited continued to be frustrated by the conditions as only nine overs were bowled on the second day of their match against Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. HBL reached 19 for 0, but with no play on the first day as well, the win they need to make absolutely certain of their spot in the finals is unlikely. The good news for HBL is that Rawalpindi and Pakistan International Airlines' matches have also been affected by rain. PIA, Rawalpindi, Water and Power Development Authority and Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited are the four teams who have a chance to catch up with HBL. WAPDA and ZTBL are playing each other, which also helps HBL's cause.
There was no play in the game between National Bank and Pakistan International Airlines for the second straight day.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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