In spite of fast bowler Sohail Khan's day-three heroics, all Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) could manage was a draw and claim three points against Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) at the Asghar Ali Shah Stadium. A defiant display by third-placed WAPDA on day three saw them make 353 in their second innings. SSGC needed 328 to win, but they spent yesterday idling to 264 for 6 as the match ended in a rather tame draw.
WAPDA had a win in mind, as the first two SSGC wickets fell with only 13 on the board. The third wicket fell at 68, but a 159-run stand for the fourth wicket steered SSGC out of the woods. The experienced Saeed bin Nasir hit his 12th first-class hundred, batting for almost four and a half hours and facing 208 deliveries. With Saeed was the SSGC captain Atiq-uz-Zaman, who missed what would have been his fourth century by just nine runs. The 32-year-old Atiq, who played in a Test match for Pakistan as wicketkeeper back in 1999-00 and is now settled in England, made 91 off just 134 balls in a little over three hours with 11 fours.
National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) were breathing easier again as they managed to draw their match against Habib Bank Limited (HBL) at the NBP Sports Complex Stadium. NBP refused to buckle down, after having conceded a 44-run first-innings lead to their opponents, and spent the entire day yesterday posting 251 for 6 in their second innings.
From nine matches, ranking leaders HBL have now totalled 66 points, after having taken three from the match. They only have Karachi Whites to contend with before the all-important final, in their last preliminary round game ten days from now after the Eid ul Azha and Christmas break. NBP have two matches in hand and 51 points from eight matches to their credit. They must win against both Sialkot, in the replay of their abandoned first-round encounter, and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC). This will bring their points tally to 69. At the same time, they will be hoping that Karachi Whites beat Habib Bank and the latter don't add to their 66 points.
Lahore Ravi defeated Sialkot by a three-wicket margin on the final day of their respective tenth round match at the Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) Ground.
By the end of the third day's play, Lahore Ravi, at 177 for 7, still required another 35 to win. Their eighth-wicket pair yesterday took their team to 214 for 7 without any further mishap and a win was comfortably achieved.Wicketkeeper Shahbaz Butt, with an unbeaten 45 off 101 balls with five fours and a six, had the belligerent Waqas Ahmed as his partner and the two added 65.
Waqas had a tremendous match, as he followed his 23-ball 45 in the first innings with an unbeaten 30 off 34 deliveries with five fours. In addition Waqas, a former Pakistan Under-19s star, captured 4 for 48 and 6 for 70 for a match haul of 10 for 118.
Lahore Ravi remain at fourth place in the 11-team Group A ranking, with 39 points from nine matches of which they have won four and lost three. Sialkot, Quaid-e-Azam Trophy champions in 2005-06 and runners-up last season, are down at number nine with a mere 15 points from eight appearances.
Multan emerged victorious by nine wickets over Hyderabad at the Multan Cricket Stadium. Adbul Rauf, the Multan captain, grabbed 6 for 72 to bowled Hyderabad out for 180 and needing just 70 to win, the hosts did so for the loss of only one wicket and collected the full nine points.
Multan are up to the fifth spot, with 30 points after having completed their ten-match schedule. Hyderabad have been pushed to rock bottom by Pakistan Customs. They have only three points from their nine matches, of which they have lost five.
Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) attained a whopping innings-and-181-run triumph over Karachi Blues, on the final day at the United Bank Limited Sports Complex Ground No.1 in Karachi. After having gained a massive 327-run first innings lead over their opponents, with their score of 515 for 5 declared, ZTBL had Karachi Blues dismissed for a poor 146.
Zohaib Khan, Peshawar's slow left-arm bowler, achieved career-best figures of 5for 49 to hasten the Blues' demise. Right-arm medium-fast bowler Kashif Dawood played an admirable foil with 3 for 28 in 12 overs. Kashif returned a match haul of 8 for 65. ZTBL have now completed all their ten matches in the Group B preliminaries. With a tally of 36 points, however, they stay at the fifth spot. Blues are down at number nine in the 11-team ranking with a mere 12 points from nine matches.
At the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium after either side had forfeited its first innings, a definite result was achieved with Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) dismissing Abbottabad for a poor 111 to attain a 246-run win.
Bottom-of-the-table Pakistan Customs lifted themselves up to number ten in the 11-team pool ranking, as they attained a creditable draw against Karachi Whites at the National Stadium. After having gained a 58-run lead over the Karachi team, Customs batted on for much of the last day as they made 271 in their second innings. Needing an impossible 330 to win, Karachi Whites lost four wickets while scoring 60.
The left-handed Rehan Rafiq, unbeaten at 60 overnight, managed only four more to his score. His 64 came off 142 balls with ten fours and he added 97 for the fifth wicket with Yasir Hussain (39) before three wickets fell in a heap. Mohammad Hasa, just 17, followed up his first-innings 43 with a career-best 76 from 143 balls. With Raees Amjad (34), Hasan helped add 91 for the eighth wicket. Karachi fast bowers Mohammad Hasnain and Fahad Khan bagged four wickets each.
From their nine matches, of which they have lost as many as seven and drawn two, Customs have scraped together just six points. Karachi Whites, in fact the defending champions of the competition, are now at eighth place with 21 points from their nine appearances.
At the Diamond Club Ground in Islamabad, Quetta left the home side a rather steep target of 284 after declaring their second innings closed at 321 for 9. Islamabad were 199 for 5 when the match came to a close. For Quetta, who had earlier surrendered a 38-run lead, left-handed opener Shoaib Khan compiled 154 off 240 balls with 16 fours and two sixes. With Jalat Khan (46), his fifth-wicket stand was worth 97. For Islamabad, captain Ashar Zaidi was unlucky to miss a hundred by just one run, his 99 being terminated by pace bowler Faisal Irfan, after he faced only 114 balls and hit 16 boundaries.
Islamabad remained at third place in the Group B ranking with 39 points from nine matches and Quetta at the bottom with a mere three points from their nine
Peshawar batted well in their second innings to score 258 at the Arbab Niaz Stadium, leaving Rawalpindi 199 for an improbable victory. All they had was ten overs at their disposal as they reached 46 for 1 before the match ended in a draw.