Shabbir Ahmed's five-wicket haul powered United Bank Limited (UBL) to beat Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) by four wickets.
PIA captain Shoaib Malik, after a Man-of-the-Match performance in the last game, became Shabbir's first victim off only the second ball of the match. PIA lost another early wicket when Shabbir removed Malik's opening partner Agha Sabir with the score at 34 in the fifth over. Faisal Iqbal's run-a-ball 48 steadied one end, but a flurry of wickets in the death - five in the last 19 balls, capped off by Shabbir dismissing Ali Raza and Fahad Iqbal off the last two balls of the innings limited PIA to 129.
Opener Asif Ali started UBL's chase positively, striking three sixes and a four but Salman Saeed struck in successive overs to leave UBL at 37 for 2 in the sixth over. With the asking rate hovering at a modest 6.5 per over, Mohammad Sami and Faisal Athar came together and added 35. Sami and Mohammad Irshad fell off consecutive balls in the 17th over, but Athar, who had five fours to his credit, held firm as UBL won the match with five balls to spare.
Younis Khan, who remains outside Pakistan's limited-overs, hit a brisk half-century to drive Habib Bank Limited to a competitive score before part-time offspinner Asad Baig ran through Water and Power Development Auhtority's middle order to complete a comfortable victory.
Imran Farhat, another experienced player who finds himself sidelined from the national team, failed to give HBL a strong start after they won the toss. His opening partner Baig fared better, making 29 as he shared a 41-run stand with No. 3 Fahad Masood. The run-rate picked up in the second half of the innings as two senior players, Younis and Hasan Raza, put together 55 in 33 deliveries. Raza hit three sixes in his 27, and Younis struck seven fours in his unbeaten 54.
In the chase, WAPDA were in a reasonable position in the 13th over, with Sohaib Maqsood's 40 guiding them to 93 for 3. It unravelled spectacularly after that, though, as their final seven wickets went down for 15 runs. What made it more galling for WAPDA was that the wickets weren't taken by regular bowlers - Baig, who has only one wicket in his 27 first-class matches, bagged 4 for 12
while Raza, who has 27 wickets in 175 domestic one-dayers, took two in his first three deliveries to wrap up the match.