Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) soared to the top of the Group B table as they defeated Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) by an emphatic margin of nine wickets on the final day of their Patron's Trophy match at the Iqbal Stadium at Faisalabad.

Having gained a first-innings lead of 120, PTCL downed ZTBL for 252 in their second innings after they had resumed yesterday morning at 104 for 2, still 16 runs adrift. PTCL were thus left with 133 to get, which they achieved in style by reaching 137 for 1. PTCL now have 15 points from their first two matches in the five-team pool. ZTBL have lost twice in as many appearances and have failed to collect any points so far.

Riaz Afridi, Peshawar's fast bowler who has played in a Test match for Pakistan, captured 4 for 34 in 18 overs for PTCL yesterday. He was ably assisted by Babar Naeem, the Rawalpindi left-arm spinner, with figures of 3 for 30 in 11 overs. Mohammad Khalil, another Pakistan player, picked up 2-70 with his left-arm pace to go with his first-innings 4 for 76. Faisal Naved top-scored for ZTBL with 49 off 124 balls that included five fours. During the 79-run seventh-wicket partnership, Zahoor Elahi, a former Pakistan batsman, and Adnan Akmal, the wicketkeeper, appeared to have tamed the PTCL bowling but this did not last very long.

ZTBL, who have won the Patron's Trophy title four times, were beaten by their 2003-04 runners-up Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) in the first round. PTCL, however, took six points from their win over Service Industries in their opening game. PTCL will now play their third-round match against National Bank -- who beat Service Industries with a day to spare on Sunday -- at the Sheikhupura Stadium from Thursday. ZTBL have a period of rest until the fourth round.

Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) claimed the three first-innings points after a draw in their Patron's Trophy Cricket Championship match against Pakistan Customs at the United Bank Limited (UBL) Sports Complex Ground No.1 at Karachi. Customs, however, remained in second position in the five-team group - after Habib Bank - with six points from two matches. SNGPL have so far made one only appearance in the tournament, but they are at No.3 in the table.

Customs resumed their chase of SNGPL's big first-innings score of 498 yesterday at 237 for 6, still needing another 111 to avert the follow-on. They did so with credit by reaching a total of 375, which however placed them 123 runs in deficit. With no result in sight, SNGPL preferred to gain some batting practice after they had been assured the three points from a draw. They were 100 for 2 in their second innings when the match was called off.

Fawad Alam, the teenaged left-handed batsman, unbeaten at 45 overnight, managed to add only two more runs, his 47 coming off 150 balls in just short of three-and-a-quarter hours with five fours. Customs needed to get to a score of 348 to save themselves from following-on. The eighth-wicket stand of 68 served them well in this pursuit. Murtaza Hussain, the offspinner, stuck to his crease for a little over three hours while scoring 58. He found able partners until the end, with 31 runs made for the ninth wicket and another 32 for the last. Azam Hussain, Alam's partner in the eighth-wicket stand, hit a career-best 49 at a run a ball that included seven fours. Imran Khalid, SNGPL's slow left-arm bowler, took 4 for 96 runs in 43 overs.

In their first-round match of the tournament, Customs had started by beating Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) although they collected only six points instead of the full nine as they had earlier surrendered the first-innings lead. SNGPL did not have a match to play in the previous round, and will now play their third-round four-day match against Group A table leaders Habib Bank at Karachi beginning December 22. Pakistan Customs will have a break until the fourth round.

Habib Bank drew with Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in their first-round fixture and then beat KRL on Sunday inside three days of their second-round game. They now have a total of 12 points to their credit. KRL's next match is coming up against PIA, also from Thursday, at the National Stadium. KRL have been beaten in both the matches they have played upto now.