Strong performances from the bowlers and an unbeaten century from captain Usman Salahuddin helped State Bank of Pakistan rout Khan Research Laboratories by an innings and 47 runs to enter the semi-finals of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Silver League.
Pacer Rizwan Haider and left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar led the charge for State Bank in the first innings, taking four wickets apiece to dismiss KRL for 176. In reply, State Bank were reeling at 61 for 5 before Salahuddin strung together key partnerships to lift them to 394. His unbeaten 154 was supported by fifties from Mukhtar Ahmed (61) and Haider (54). Legspinner Usama Mir was the most successful bowler for KRL taking 4 for 133 in his second first-class match.
KRL could neither wipe out the deficit nor could they better their first-innings score, folding for 171 as the left-arm spinners Gohar (3-48) and Kashif Bhatti (4-45) took seven wickets between them. In an innings dotted with single-digit scores, Ali Khan's 73, Shoaib Ahmed's 47 and Zulfiqar Jan's 31 were the only substantial knocks.
Pakistan International Airlines also made their way into the semi-finals, rallying around after a first-innings collapse to beat Bahawalpur Stags by six wickets in a low-scoring game. They will meet State Bank of Pakistan in the first semi-final from November 28.
The bowlers forged PIA's fightback after their batsmen had collapsed from 80 for 4 to 104 all out in response to Stags' first-innings score of 137. Led by medium-pacer Kamran Sajid, who took four wickets in each innings, PIA skittled Stags out for 96 in the second innings.
That left PIA a target of 130 and they were struggling at 47 for 4 before an 85-run partnership between Fahad Iqbal and Faisal Iqbal ensured their passage to the semis. Faisal struck an unbeaten 52 off 55 balls, while Fahad remained not out on 38 off 68 balls.
The pace-bowling pair of Ansar Javed and Zahir Siddiqi had posed the biggest threat for PIA. They took four wickets apiece during PIA's first-innings, the only Stags bowlers to take wickets, and struck again to put PIA's chase in a precarious position.