Shehzad ton takes HBL to victory
Ahmed Shehzad scored a sparkling century to help Habib Bank Limited clinch a three-wicket win over Abbottabad while chasing 368 at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium. HBL began the day with all ten wickets intact and Shehzad approached the task with aggression, smashing 161 in 162 balls, including 26 fours and a six. He added a decisive 234 for the opening wicket with Shan Masood, who was the calmer, more sedate of the two partners. Their stand set up the foundation for a win. Abbottabad, however, made inroads and would have sensed the possibility of a victory at 337 for 7. But Hasan Raza remained unbeaten on 36 while Danish Kaneria made an quickfire 32 to help his team seal victory.
Water and Power Development Authority completed the formalities on the final day, beating Faisalabad by seven wickets at the Sports Stadium in Sargodha. They had been resting easy at 205 for 3 overnight, chasing 260, and Aamer Sajjad and captain Naved-ul-Hasan ensured there was no damage done, seeing their team through to victory.
The contest between National Bank of Pakistan and Islamabad ended in a thrilling draw at the Diamond Club Ground. NBP were set 303 to win and the game was there for the taking after Khurram Manzoor and Nasir Jamshed added 192 for the opening wicket. Khurram made 107 and Jamshed contributed 85 off 122 balls. But thereafter, the innings began to slide. Afaq Raheem's offspinners played a decisive role, as he picked up six wickets to undermine the foundation laid by the opening stand. NBP lost wickets at regular intervals and slipped to 259 for 8, with Islamabad sensing a win now. But Raza Hasan and Uzair-ul-Haq batted cautiously through to the finish. In the end, NBP finished with 287 for 8; they'll undoubtedly regret not taking advantage of that opening stand.
Karachi Blues didn't take long to beat Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited at the National Stadium in Karachi. ZTBL had been reeling at 174 for 6 after following on and the Karachi bowlers polished off the tail, taking just eight overs to capture the remaining four wickets. Seamer Mohammad Sami finished with a five-for, while Tariq Haroon took 4 for 51. Karachi were victors by an innings and 112 runs.
Rawalpindi had an excellent chance of clinching victory against Pakistan International Airlines at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, but fell short by 18 runs and had to settle for a draw. PIA had enjoyed the better of the contest for three days but they came close to losing on the fourth. From 185 for 2 overnight, they slipped to 229 for 8 in search of quick runs and declared, setting Rawalpindi a target of 354 in 71 overs. Nasir Malik picked up five wickets. In the chase, opener Naved Malik led the way with 139 and though Rawalpindi seemed to be losing their way, reduced to 124 for 4 at one stage, they fought back superbly. Adnan Mufti blasted 57 off 39 balls to add 122 in quick time with Naved, and took Rawalpindi closer to the target. Mohammad Rameez then came in and finished unbeaten on 59, off 44 balls, including five fours and two sixes. However, the acceleration came a little late as Rawalpindi couldn't reach the target in the allotted number of overs.
State Bank of Pakistan ensured their contest against Sialkot at the Jinnah Stadium ended in a draw. SBP would have begun the day thinking of a draw as they were only 36 runs ahead overnight. A five-wicket haul from Prince Abbas threatened to upset their plans but a collective batting effort in the end, with much-needed support from the lower order, helped them save the game. Rameez Raja chipped in with 42 while the rest of the top and middle orders got starts. However, the team was still in some trouble at 126 for 6. But Gulraiz Sadaf ended any Sialkot hopes of a surprise win, batting determinedly for his unbeaten 72 with support from Rizwan Haider. SBP were eventually bowled out for 220, Sialkot could only bat five overs in the fourth innings.