Abbottabad close in on first win
Abbottabad are six wickets away from a comprehensive win against Faisalabad at the Gohati Cricket Stadium in Swabi. Having bowled Faisalabad out for 74 on the first day, Abbottabad managed 311 in their first innings and had Faisalabad tottering at 42 for 4 in their second attempt by the end of the second day. Abbottabad started the day on 110 for 3 and lost an early wicket but Rameez Ahmed completed his half-century and shared a 74-run stand with Riaz Kail. Once Rameez was dismissed, Kail carried on and reached 67. The lower order all made handy contributions to push the score beyond 300. Faisalabad came out to bat needing 237 runs just to avoid an innings defeat and were in trouble by stumps. While Ahmed Jamal did the bulk of the damage in their first innings, it was left-arm spinner Mohammad Naeem who struck three times to wreck Faisalabad's top order this time around.
Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited's seamers put them in a strong position against Habib Bank Limited at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, bowling HBL out for 156, thus securing a 45-run first-innings lead. By the end of the second day ZTBL had reached 119 for 1 in their second innings putting them in prime position to push for a win. HBL had got off to a solid start thanks to Ahmed Shehzad's 42 but wickets began to tumble shortly into the second day and they slipped from 47 for 0 to 115 for 7. The wickets were shared around between ZTBL's seamers and apart from Shehzad only two of HBL's top-order batsmen reached double-figures. There was some resistance from Danish Kaneria, who made 25 not out at No. 10, but HBL conceded the lead. In ZTBL's second innings Sharjeel Khan moved to 43 not out and Yasir Hameed reached 44 not out by stumps.
Islamabad's seamers bowled Rawalpindi out for 119 on the second day at the at the Diamond Club Ground in Islamabad, forcing them to follow on. Rawalpindi slipped to 26 for 3 in their second attempt but a half-century from Adnan Mufti got them to 100 for 3 by stumps. Rawalpindi are still 70 runs away from making Islamabad bat again, though, and the hosts will be eyeing a first win of the season. Islamabad took their overnight score of 226 for 6 to 289 and were then led by Fakhar Hussain, who took three top-order wickets to leave Rawalpindi reeling at 31 for 4. Zohaib Ahmed helped himself to three wickets too while Nasrullah Khan took four as only three Rawalpindi batsmen reached double-figures. Fakhar repeated his efforts in the next innings, again taking three early wickets before Mufit's resistance kept Rawalpindi afloat.
The match between State Bank of Pakistan and National Bank of Pakistan at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad was finely balanced by the end of the second day with State Bank reaching 237 for 6 in response to National Bank's 282. The match swung through the day, with National Bank taking an early advantage thanks to a couple of strikes from this season's second-highest wicket-taker, fast bowler Mohammad Talha. State Bank were 61 for 3 before Rameez Raja's 79 and Rameez Aziz's unbeaten 51 lifted them to a strong position. They looked to have the advantage as the end of the day neared, with Aziz and Gulraiz Sadaf putting together a 71-run stand. But Gulraiz became seamer Uzair-ul-Haq's third victim to give National Bank an opening.
The low-scoring match between Pakistan International Airlines and Water and Power Development Authority at the Marghzar Cricket Ground in Islamabad is set for a tense finish as WAPDA finished the second day 161 runs ahead with three wickets remaining. PIA managed to get an eight-run first-innings lead after taking their overnight score of 111 for 5 to 186. Fahad Iqbal added just 12 runs to his overnight score of 50 not out but wicketkeeper Anop Santosh moved to 47 and Najaf Shah contributed 20 at No. 10. Seamer Rana Naved-ul-Hasan bagged his third five-wicket haul of the season to ensure PIA took only a small lead. WAPDA then started their second innings strongly, reaching 74 for 0 thanks to Asif Khan's 49. Things began to unravel from there and WAPDA were soon 109 for 6. Contributions from Nawaz Sardar and Naved kept them in the game and they will now be aiming to set PIA a target of over 200, which could prove difficult on a pitch where batsmen have struggled.
Karachi Blues made a strong comeback against Sialkot at the Jinnah Stadium in Sialkot and finished the second day 38 runs ahead with all ten wickets remaining. Sialkot dominated the first day and started the second on 98 for 0 in response to Karachi's first-innings total of 166. Karachi's fast bowlers Mohammad Sami and Tanvir Ahmed got them back into the game, taking four wickets each to make sure Sialkot lost 10 wickets for 133 runs and were bowled out for 249. Overnight batsman Mohammad Yasin took his score to 81 and Mohammad Ayub scored 67 to take Sialkot to 217 for 4. A collapse followed in which four of the last six batsmen were dismissed for ducks and Sialkot were restricted to a lead of 83. That was quickly wiped out by Karachi's openers who put together an unbeaten stand of 121 at 4.93 runs an over. Shahzaib Hasan had reached 72 not out off 76 balls by the end of the day while Asad Baig moved to 42 not out.