Haider stars in thrilling win for SBP
State Bank of Pakistan and Habib Bank Limited were involved in a thrilling encounter at the Diamond Club Ground in Islamabad. SBP prevailed by 12 runs after HBL began the day with a good chance of sealing victory. HBL were set a target of 246 but will rue the fact that their batsmen didn't carry on to get big scores despite getting starts. Out of nine double-digit scores in their batting order, only opener Ahmed Shehzad managed a half-century, top-scoring with 77. Left-arm medium-pacer Rizwan Haider bagged 7 for 42, his best first-class figures, to bowl out HBL for 233. HBL perhaps were evenly placed at 220 for 7 but Haider struck to ensure they didn't meet their target. With five wins in eight games, SBP are placed second in the points table.
In another closely-fought encounter, Pakistan International Airlines edged out National Bank of Pakistan by three wickets at the Jinnah Stadium in Sialkot. PIA would have backed themselves to chase down a target of 259 by the end of the game and achieved the result they desired thanks to some useful contributions. Opener Agha Sabir made 74 and though a successful chase looked difficult with the score on 160 for 6 at one stage, an unbeaten 51 from Shoaib Khan snr, an important contribution of 30 from No.9 Ali Imran and a handy, unbeaten 16 from Anwar Ali saw PIA through. From 160 for 6, they managed to recover to 214 for 7 and the unbeaten eighth-wicket pair added 45 to seal victory. PIA are currently placed third in the table.
The contest between Water and Power Development Authority and Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited meandered towards a draw on the final day at the National Ground in Islamabad, with the latter taking home the points after gaining a first-innings lead. ZTBL had done well to gain a first-innings lead, though WAPDA responded strongly in the second innings, the No.3 batsman Rafatullah Mohmand getting a century and Aamer Sajjad making 73. WAPDA declared at 425 for 7, and set their opponents a target of 303 but a solid batting performance ensured ZTBL survived the 30 overs bowled at them, courtesy half-centuries from captain Imran Nazir and Yasir Hameed. ZTBL remained at the top of the table at the end of the round, with five wins from eight games and with 48 points.
Islamabad ensured they batted out day four to take first-innings points against Abbottabad at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium. The hosts had conceded a significant first-innings lead and Islamabad ensured there wasn't much room for them to fight back on the final day of the game. Islamabad began the day on 198 for 2 and they finished the game on 526 for 8. Though their overnight batsmen, Zeeshan Mushtaq and opener Umair Khan, fell in quick succession on the fourth day, Ali Sarfraz, wicketkeeper Zohaib Ahmed and No.8 batsman Faizan Riaz, who scored a run-a-ball 88, extended the Islamabad lead to 575 at the end of day four.
Karachi Blues thrashed Faisalabad by 235 runs at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad. Faisalabad began the day on 18 for 1, chasing 356 for victory but a collective bowling effort from Karachi denied them. The seamers Tanvir Ahmed and Mohammad Sami shared five wickets and so did spinners Azam Hussain and Atif Maqbool. Only Mohammad Salman, the wicketkeeper for Faisalabad, managed to put up any significant resistance, top-scoring with 38 but the innings folded for 120.