Bilal Khilji routs SNGPL for 40 on opening day

Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) had a nightmare start to their four-day Group B Patron's Trophy Cricket Championship match at the Sheikhupura Stadium, when they were decimated for 40 against Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA).

In a team that included Pakistan cricketers like Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf and Mushtaq Ahmed, plus several other leading players of the country, WAPDA would have been thrilled by the exciting bowling performance by their medium-pacer Bilal Khilji, who at best can only be termed as a part-time bowler.

Bilal bowled nine overs of which six were maidens and took five wickets for only nine runs. In an 88-match first-class career, Bilal had managed only 24 wickets and had never before captured five wickets in an innings.

No SNGPL batsman reached double figures and Zahoor Elahi, a former Test player, top-scored with 9. After they'd been put in, the SNGPL batsmen were rattled by Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, who finished with 3 for 17 in eight overs.

SNGPL came back strongly by getting five WAPDA wickets by stumps for only 97 runs. Inzamam (9) and Yousuf (8) fell cheaply. Opener Ahmed Said batted almost three and a quarter hours for his unbeaten 19 off 186 balls with just one four. He emulated SNGPL opener Yasir Arafat (not the Pakistan player), who scored only 4 off 78 balls in 111 minutes. Zahoor made 9 off 47 balls in 58 minutes with two fours.

WAPDA captain Mushtaq, who excelled this summer with over a 100 wickets at Sussex, didn't even need to turn him arm over as Bilal Khilji did the needful.

Sixteen wickets fell on an eventful first day of the Group B Patron's Trophy Cricket Championship match at the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) Stadium on Friday, but Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had recovered somewhat after having earlier routed hosts KRL for a poor first innings score of 103 runs. Thanks to Pakistan allrounder Shoaib Malik, who was unbeaten on 50 off 68 balls with six fours, PIA lifted themselves from a score of 66 for 5 to of 128 for 6 at stumps.

After asking KRL to bat, PIA at least gained a first-innings advantage of 25 runs with four wickets still in hand. Earlier, their bowlers ran through KRL, restricting it to a paltry total of 103 all out.

Jamshed Ahmed, the left-arm medium-pacer, took 5 for 47 in just nine overs to spell doom for KRL. Jamshed, who was one of the Pakistan's bowling stars at the Under-19 World Cup triumph in Sri Lanka earlier this year, is playing only his fifth first-class match and the first for his new employers PIA.

KRL lost their first nine wickets for 74 runs before tailender Abdul Rauf's 25 off 17 balls with six fours helped them cross the 100 mark. Pakistan pace bowler Yasir Arafat, with figures of 4 for 44 in 14 overs, then returned the compliment. PIA lost their first four wickets within the space of 14 runs before Shoaib Malik helped them come out of the difficult situation.

Defending champions National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) had a slightly topsy-turvy opening day in their match against debutants Attock Group at the NBP Sports Complex Stadium. At stumps NBP reached 260 for 5 in their first innings , writes Gul Hameed Bhatti.

Their spirits were lifted by a splendid fifth-wicket partnership of 121 between Naved Latif and budding left-handed batsman Fawad Alam. They had lost their first four wickets for 127 after being asked to bat. Naved batted for a little over three and a quarter hours, facing 151 balls for his 89 with nine boundaries. Fawad was still at the crease with an unbeaten 39 off 100 balls with two fours.

The NBP innings got off to a useful start with Salman Butt and Imran Nazir adding 65 for the first wicket. Both got into the 40s, Butt's 46 coming off 144 balls with five fours while Imran took the bowling head-on during his 45 off 51 deliveries with eight fours and a six.

For the Attock Group, their opening bowlers Sohail Tanvir and Asim Butt took two wickets each in useful spells. But eventually the National Bank batsmen finished in a sound position at the end of the day.

National Bank won the Patron's Trophy title last season. Overall, they have been champions on six occasions. Attock Group were making their first-class debut, after having won the Patron's Trophy Grade-II competition in 2005-06 as the Attock Refinery Limited (ARL). Most of their players belong to Rawalpindi, including the captain Babar Naeem, but a couple have also been drafted from other cricketing districts of the country.

Little known medium-pacer Kashif Daud rattled a star-studded Habib Bank Limited (HBL) line-up as Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) bowled them out for 169 in the first innings of their first-round Group A Patron's Trophy Cricket Championship at the United Bank Limited (UBL) Sports Complex Ground No 1. At stumps ZTBL, who had earlier opted to field first after winning the toss, crashed to 58 for 5 in reply. Habib Bank newcomer Umar Gul, the Pakistan fast bowler, took 4 for 30.

Kashif, a right-arm medium-pacer from Sialkot, picked up 5 for 46 in 14.2 overs and achieved his career-best figures in only his sixth first-class match. The Habib Bank line-up read like a virtual Pakistan Test cricketers' who's who. Being captained by Younis Khan, they also had Imran Farhat, Taufeeq Umar, Asim Kamal, Hasan Raza, Shahid Afridi, Azhar Mahmood, Humayun Farhat, Shahid Nazir, Umar Gul and Danish Kaneria.

Six Habib Bank wickets fell for only 73, four of them for only five runs. Hasan Raza (25) was then joined by Humayun Farhat in a 59-run stand for the seventh wicket. Humayun hammered 40 off just 41 balls with four boundaries. Kashif was ably supported by left-arm opening bowler Mohammad Khalil, who took 3 for 59, and Rao Iftikhar who chipped in with 2 for 32. Wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal took five catches.

Habib Bank, incidentally, have won the Patron's Trophy title on more occasions - seven - than any other team. ZTBL have been champions four times, mainly when they were known as the Agriculture Development Bank of Pakistan (ADBP).