WAPDA sitting pretty
Salman Butt's Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) are in prime position to reach the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final, becoming the only side in the competition to win both Super Eight games, and opening up a ten-point lead in their group. Batting first against United Bank Limited (UBL), they posted 243 and conceded a 32-run lead to UBL, for whom Mohammad Nawaz, who has had an indifferent tournament with both bat and ball, marked a return to form with 88, while Umar Siddiq score 67.
Butt took charge in the second innings, top-scoring with 66, but lack of support from his teammates meant WAPDA could only set UBL 189 to chase. As it turned out, that was more than enough for the WAPDA bowlers, particularly Waqas Maqsood and Zahid Mansoor, who took four wickets each as HBL succumbed for 131, virtually guaranteeing their opponents a final berth.
Runfest or bowlers' paradise?
The game of the round took place between a Mohammad Hafeez-led SNGPL and Usman Salahuddin's Lahore Whites. SNGPL scored a near-impregnable 411 in their first innings, thanks to a century from Khurram Shehzad, with Iftikhar Ahmed posting 87 and Asad Shafiq chipping in with 59. Lahore Whites responded relatively solidly, an unbeaten 96 from Mohammad Mohsin and half-centuries from captain Salahuddin and Hamza Akbar helping them to 344.
Trailing by 67, the Whites needed to dismiss their opponents quickly. Their bowlers seemed well aware of what was required, taking just 36 overs to send SNGPL packing for 93, 39 unbeaten runs coming from Hussain Talat. A target of 161 gave the Whites a shot, but their batsmen, too, looked to have caught the bug afflicting SNGPL. It took just 29 overs for SNGPL to skittle them out for 88, with Mohammad Abbas taking five wickets to put his side two points clear at the top of Group 1.
Salman Afridi carried his bat in the first innings for Habib Bank Limited (HBL) to set up a comfortable seven-wicket win. HBL scored 252, before their bowlers blew away Lahore Blues for 68, Umar Gul taking five wickets and forcing Saad Nasim's side to follow on. They did put on a vastly improved show in the second innings, Nasim himself top-scoring with 60, but the damage had already been done. They could only set HBL 93 to win, which they achieved comfortably for the loss of three wickets to leapfrog the Blues to second position in the table.
Fawad Alam's side did win by six wickets, but he missed out on the opportunity to bolster his credentials for an international recall, scoring a duck in the first innings. He did hit the winning runs for his side, however, finishing the second innings unbeaten on 19 as SSGC chased down KRL's target of 182 to keep his side in with an outside chance of qualifying for the final.