A consistent batting effort, in which almost everyone played a crucial role, helped Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) snatch a two-wicket win with just five balls to spare over defending champions Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), in their opening round Patrons Cup Group B National One-day Championship match at the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) Stadium in Rawapindi.

WAPDA, who had clinched the Patron's Cup title last season with a win over Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in the final, would have been pleased with a total of 262 for 4; but ZTBL proved up to the task, clinching victory by two wickets in 49.1 overs. Faisal Naved top-scored for ZTBL with 54 off 94 balls with four fours, while Bilal Asad hit a 45-ball 49 with four fours and a six and Atif Ashraf made 41 off 35 with five fours and a six.

Earlier, WAPDA were powered by Tariq Aziz's 80 from 122 balls. Aziz added 93 for the third wicket with Aamer Sajjad (38) before Bilal Khilji (56) and Ali Azmat (41*) put on 92 for the fifth. An interesting aspect of the match was the appearance of Shabbir Ahmed, the banned Pakistani fast bowler, who picked up 2 for 40 from 10 overs for WAPDA.

ZTBL will now play against Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) at the same venue, in their second-round match on Monday (tomorrow). WAPDA have their next match coming up on February 11, against Service Industries at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad.

In the clash between the two most successful teams on Pakistan's domestic limited-overs tournament circuit, Habib Bank drew first blood as they defeated Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) by the emphatic margin of nine wickets in the opening Group A match of the Patron's Cup National One-day Championship at the United Bank Limited (UBL) Sports Complex Ground No.1 in Karachi.

PIA were bowled out for a modest 204 by after having been put in. Thanks to a 180-run start by Rafatullah Mohmand and Taufeeq Umar, the Habib Bank openers, the latter reached 207 for 1 in 45.5 overs to clinch an easy win. Mohmand, who had earned a national call for the recent Test series against India, was the day's top-scorer with a splendid 94 that came in a little over two and a half hours, off 130 balls with eight boundaries. Earlier, he had brought the PIA innings to a quick end taking two wickets from two balls with his slow left-arm spin. Umar remained unbeaten with 83 from 133 balls with six fours.

PIA, led by Mahmood Hamid in the absence of Faisal Iqbal, away on national duty, were propped up by a third-wicket stand of 83 between Ghulam Ali (63)and Bazid Khan (40). Following their dismissals, however, PIA lost eight wickets for the addition of just 58 runs. Hasan Raza, the Habib Bank captain, picked up 3 for 41 with his part-time legbreaks.

Habib Bank have won more major limited-overs tournaments than any other team in Pakistan's cricket history -- a total of 11. PIA come a close second with 10 such titles to their name. Habib Bank will now meet Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) in their second round match on Monday.

A brilliant unbeaten century by Fawad Alam enabled Pakistan Customs to overhaul Khan Research Laboratories' (KRL) 285 for 9 and win their opening round Group A Patron's Cup National One-day Championship match by five wickets at the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Sports Complex in Karachi.

Fawad, 20, joined forces with the experienced Afsar Nawaz to put on a fourth-wicket partnership of 148 to take Customs to within 60 runs of the victory target, with 12 overs still to go. Afsar hit 67 runs off 75 balls with five fours and a six. Fawad's unbeaten 100, his first hundred in a major limited-overs match, came off only 106 deliveries with six hits to the ropes.

Earlier, after Mohammad Wasim, the KRL captain, had perished for a duck on the first ball he faced, Saeed Anwar Junior and Abdul Rauf, promoted up the order, put on 116 for the second-wicket stand. Rauf's previous highest knock in a one-day match was a mere 31. Yesterday, he took 106 balls to make a splendid 91, with the help of four fours and two sixes. Saeed Anwar's 60 came off 94 balls with six boundaries. Saeed Bin Nasir (34) and Mohammad Farrukh then chipped in with useful contributions while Shahbaz Butt, the wicketkeeper, clubbed three fours and a six in his 24 runs off just 13. Rauf later took 2 for 44 when resuming his bowling responsibilities.

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) ambled comfortably to a six-wicket win over Service Industries in their opening round Group B Patron's Cup National One-day Cricket Championship match here at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad.

Opting to bat first, Services scored 247 for 7 from their 50 overs, but PTCL overhauled this for the loss of just four wickets with a little more than five overs to spare. Usman Tariq (75) and Babar Naeem (58), the PTCL openers, added 121 in 23 overs to get their side off to a good start. A brief collapse saw PTCL slip to 179 for 4, but Shahzad Malik (59) and Mohammad Hussain (26*), the captain, steadied the ship and added 69 to see them home. Hussain had earlier picked up 3 for 39 with his left-arm spin.

Services innings was down to useful contributions from Khurram Shahzad (82), Sohail Ahmed (48) and Mustansar Ali (40*). PTCL will now meet Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) in their second round match tomorrow (Monday), at the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) Stadium in Rawalpindi. On the same day, Service Industries will play against National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) here in Faisalabad.