PIA take step towards finals berth
Pakistan International Airlines 155 for 3 (Sabir 74*) lead Karachi Blues 146 (Rameez Raja jnr 54, Cheema 7-65) by nine runs with seven wickets in hand
Pakistan International Airlines took a big step towards the finals after bowling Karachi Blues out for 146 on the first day at the National Stadium in Karachi. By the end of the day, PIA had already gone past Karachi's score, thanks to an unbeaten half-century from opener Agha Sabir. PIA need to take all nine points from the game to overtake Rawalpindi and secure a finals berth.
Seamer Aizaz Cheema was PIA's star on the day. He took 7 for 65 to help bowl Karachi out in 46.5 overs after they had been put in to bat. Rameez Raja (2) was the only Karachi batsman able to spend time at the wicket, reaching 54 before he had to retire hurt. Seamer Najaf Shah got an early breakthrough, dismissing Asad Baig to leave Karachi 2 for 1. After that, Raja and Akbar-ur-Rehman put together 63 runs for the third wicket to get the hosts to 92 for 2. But then, Cheema struck. He took four quick wickets to break the spine of Karachi's batting and left them reeling at 94 for 6.
PIA's reply got off to a poor start, as they slumped to 53 for 3. But Sabir and Faisal Iqbal put together an unbeaten 102-run partnership to put them in a strong position in the match.