Karachi's new pace-bowling sensation Sohail Khan created a Pakistan first-class record, ending with a match-haul of 16 wickets on the third day of Sui Southern Gas Company's tenth round Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Cricket Championship encounter against Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), at the Asghar Ali Shah Stadium in Karachi.
Already the highest wicket-taker in the ongoing competition, the 23-year-old Malakand-born Sohail captured a career-best 9 for 109. Added to his equally splendid figures of 7 for 80 in WAPDA's first innings, Sohail completed 16 for 189 in the match. It beat the earlier record set by Fazal Mahmood (15 for 76) for Punjab against Pakistan Combined Services in Lahore during the 1956-57 season.
In what must rank as one of the most sensational entries into first-class cricket, Sohail, who made his debut as recently as October, has now captured 65 wickets at just 18.43 runs apiece. He has taken five in an innings on eight occasions and 10 in a match twice.
In spite of Sohail's heroics, WAPDA compiled 353 runs yesterday, leaving SSGC to make 328 runs to achieve an outright victory. There were several resolute batting displays in the WAPDA innings: Nawaz Sardar, who struck 18 fours and a six, missed a maiden first-class hundred by two runs. Along with skipper Aamer Sajjad (40), Nawaz helped add 80 runs for the fourth wicket. Bilal Khilji (80) and Sunny Irshad (75) then joined together for fine 146-run association for the sixth wicket. However, the last five WAPDA wickets added only a further 19.
Neither team might have done enough for a final slot though one thing is clear: third-placed WAPDA will not make it to the top of the 11-team Group A ranking.
Leaders Habib Bank Limited (HBL) took another step towards qualifying for the tournament final on the third day of their tenth round, Group A Quaid-e-Azam Trophy against National Bank of Pakistan (NBP). They took a crucial 44-run first innings lead in the match against NBP Sports Complex Stadium in Karachi.
Thanks to a fine 137-run fourth-wicket partnership between Aftab Khan and Khaqan Arsal, Habib Bank responded with 341 against National Bank's 297 all out. The 23-year-old Khaqan, who brought up his third first-class century, remained unbeaten till the end with 109, a knock involving 16 fours.
Aftab cracked a 210-ball 80 in a little over four-and-a-half hours. Skipper Hasan Raza perished for a rare duck as did Salman Qadir, but a 42-run seventh-wicket partnership between wicketkeeper Humayun Farhat and Khaqan allowed Habib Bank to gain the lead. By the close of play, with opener Nasir Jamshed having made an unbeaten 58, National Bank gained a slender edge of 42 runs with nine wickets in hand.
Habib Bank are in a must-win situation here. A draw will take their points tally to 66 after nine matches. National Bank will then still have two more games to go and the full points from two wins will keep them in contention for the final.
After having dominated Sialkot for much of the first two days, Lahore Ravi were in some trouble, on the third day of their tenth round match, at the Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) Ground in Lahore.
Sialkot, who had restricted Lahore's lead to 77 after being shot out for a pathetic 88, recovered to score 288 runs in their second innings. Needing 212 to win, Lahore Ravi were 177 for 7 by the close of play, needing 35 more to wrap up the win.
For Sialkot, skipper Ayub Dogar hit a splendid century, a 240-ball 124 that included 15 fours and two sixes. Lahore pace bowler Waqas Ahmed, meanwhile, continued with his excellent display in the match taking 6 for 70, ending with 10 for 118 in the match. Medium-pacer Mohammad Ali Bhutta continued his devastating form, ending with 4 for 54 in the second innings, adding to his 5 for 38 in the first.
Multan scored 446 runs in their first innings, taking a 111-run lead over Hyderabad in the Multan Cricket Stadium. A double-hundred by their left-handed opener Usman Tariq, who's knock contained 20 fours and five sixes, formed the bedrock of the Multan innings.
Centuries by Asif Iqbal and Zahoor Elahi allowed Pakistan Customs to compile 338 runs against Karachi Whites at the National Stadium. In reply, Karachi managed to reach 154 for 4 at close, still 184 runs in deficit. Iqbal scored his second first-class century and his highest individual score after batting for over five hours and hitting 13 fours. With Elahi, he added 159 runs for the fourth wicket. For Karachi, Khalid Latif continued his impressive form with the bat and scored 42 while Asim Kamal is still unbeaten on 47.
Making their debut in the competition this season, Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) became the first team to qualify for the tournament final when, on the third day of their tenth round, they easily defeated Lahore Shalimar by ten wickets in the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
After having gained a first innings lead of 135, SNGPL bowled out the opposition for a modest 206. This left them just 72 runs to win, which they attained without loss in a matter of 7.1 overs.
With 63 points from nine matches, and a game in hand, SNGPL have raced ahead of second-placed Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in the Group B table. PIA have their last match coming up and, with only 48 points in their kitty, don't have a chance of making the final.
Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited rattled up a big first-innings lead of 327 over Karachi Blues, on the third day of their tenth round, Group B Quaid-e-Azam Trophy at the United Bank Limited Sports Complex Ground No.1 in Karachi.
Opening batsman Afaq Rahim's unbeaten 205, his second double-hundred of the tournament following his career-best 275 against Quetta last month, was a record-breaking milestone. It was the 100th double century achieved by any batsman in the 50 editions of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
The 22-year-old Afaq, from Mirpur in Azad Kashmir, had already reached his career's seventh hundred with his 107 on Friday afternoon. He batted just a minute over 10 hours in an innings that comprised 450 balls with the help of 24 fours. Afaq added 232 vital runs with Wajahatulla Wasti, who cracked his 15th first-class hundred with the help of 13 fours and three sixes.
Having bowled the Blues out for 188 on the opening day, ZTBL reached a massive 515 for five yesterday before skipper Wasti declared. By the close of play, Karachi Blues had lost two wickets -- both to medium-fast Kashif Dawood, the five-wicket hero in the first innings - while adding 51. They still need another 277 to avoid an innings defeat.
This match is really of no importance in the context of the teams getting to the final. ZTBL are placed fifth in the 11-team Group B ranking with 27 points from nine matches. They are making their last appearance in the pool round. The Blues are down at No.9, just above Abbottabad and Quetta, with just 12 points from eight matches.
At the Diamond Club Ground in Islamabad, the hosts, took the first innings lead against Quetta. Ameer Khan missed a century, managing a 170-ball 92, but had done well to help his team to the lead. Quetta responded with 237 for 4 in their second innings, mainly through an unbroken 96-run fifth-wicket stand between opener Shoaib Khan (95) and Jalat Khan (46), and are now 199 ahead with six wickets intact.
Rawalpindi took a 60-run lead over Peshawar at the Arbab Niaz Stadium in Peshawar, after compiling 316 in reply to the hosts' 256. Youngster Usman Saeed (94) missed his hundred by six runs. Peshawar erased 45 runs off the lead while losing one wicket in their second innings by the end of the day.
The left-handed Saeed Anwar attained the 12th century of his first-class career, as he made 107 runs in the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) score of 356 for 7 against Abbottabad at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium. The two teams had earlier forfeited their respective first innings after the opening day on Thursday had been completely washed out. The highlight of the innings was Saaed's 151-runs stand with Bazid Khan (78).