Umar Gul, the Pakistani fast bowler, and Tahir Khan, the offspinner, again shared nine wickets, as they did in the first innings, while Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) defeated Pakistan Customs by an innings and 57 runs on the final day of their fourth-round Patron's Trophy Cricket Championship match at the United Bank Limited (UBL) Sports Complex Ground No.1 at Karachi. The win took PIA to the top of the five-team ranking, with 15 points from three matches. Customs, with six points from as many appearances have slumped to the bottom spot and, after the elevation of Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) in the table, they are now faced with demotion to next season's Grade-II circuit.

Umar, who is on the comeback trail after missing more than a year of international cricket through injury, completed 10 wickets in the match, taking 5 for 87 yesterday to follow his 5 for 64 in the first innings. Customs were all out for 267.Tahir, who turns 25 on January 9, turned in an impressive allround performance in the match. He captured eight wickets, four in each innings, and contributed a fine unbeaten 69 with the bat, off only 76 balls with six fours and three sixes. Customs' best batsman was Afsar Nawaz with a solid 72, made off 146 balls with seven fours. Hasnain Abbas, the opening batsman, hit 10 fours in his 64 off 129 deliveries. The rest, however, did not last long enough.

Customs now need to beat the record seven-time Patron's Trophy champions Habib Bank, in the fifth and final round match starting at the same venue from Tuesday. PIA's last Group A match starts from the same day against Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL), at the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Sports Complex here. The top two teams from either group in the tournament qualify for the Quadrangular Stage round, which gets underway from January 15.

Saeed Ajmal's offspinners captured him a career-best 7 for 116 as Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) beat Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) by a convincing 101-run margin on the final day of their Patron's Trophy match at the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Sports Complex at Karachi.

KRL thus got a lift from the bottom position in the five-team points table to the third spot. They may have saved themselves from relegation to next season's Grade-II circuit, but they must still watch the proceedings in the fifth and final round of the group league, that starts from Tuesday. KRL, in fact, have completed their schedule of four matches, of which they lost three and won just one for a total of nine points. Victory for either SNGPL or Pakistan Customs in the last round, or for both, can still put KRL's position in jeopardy.

On Friday, they set SNGPL a win target of 350 but Ajmal's devastating offspin downed them for an eventual total of just 248. He not only achieved his best first-class bowling figures, but also gathered his first 10-wicket haul at this level. He actually ended with 11 for 141 in the match. Misbah-ul-Haq, SNGPL's captain, and the experienced Saleem Mughal fought valiantly in a fourth-wicket stand of 86 but the rest of the order couldn't maintain the tempo and succumbed to Ajmal's guile and relentless pressure. Saleem top-scored with 79 off 163 balls with four fours and three sixes. Misbah's 72 included five fours and two sixes and required 161 deliveries to make.

SNGPL will now have to try and beat Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in their fifth and final round match, starting at the same venue from Tuesday. Like KRL, it is now they and Customs who are trying to save themselves from demotion.

Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) completed a four-wicket win over Service Industries on the final day of their Patron's Trophy match at the Sheikhupura Stadium on Saturday. It was their first win in three matches and Service Industries' third defeat in four appearances. Having completed their schedule of four matches with no points at all, Service have suffered the humiliation of being demoted to next season's non-first-class Patron's Trophy Grade-II circuit once again.

Having resumed at their overnight 184 for 6, Service managed to add only nine more runs in six overs yesterday morning to be dismissed for 193.This left ZTBL a modest target of 169 which they achieved with minor hiccups for the loss of six wickets. For ZTBL, Mohammad Siddiq, the fast bowler, captured a first-class career-best 6 for 55 in 26.5 overs. He was at the forefront enabling his team to clinch the first-innings lead, when he made an unbeaten 39 at No.10 and featured prominently in an invaluable 44-run last-wicket partnership.

Atif Ashraf, the opening batsman, and Bilal Asad compiled a splendid 108-run stand for the third wicket after the first two wickets had fallen with only five runs on the board. Atif top-scored with 63 off 91 balls with 11 fours while Bilal made 47 off 78 balls with eight fours and a six. Naved Ashraf, the captain, then took ZTBL nearer victory with a fluent 28. For Service, Mohammad Irshad, with 3 for 51, and his new-ball partner Jamshed Ahmed 3 for 55 bowled well.

In the fifth and final round starting from Tuesday, four-time Patron's Trophy champions ZTBL will meet five-time winners National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) at the Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) Ground in Lahore.

Neither team gained any points as the fourth-round Patron's Trophy Cricket Championship match between National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) was fogged-out for the fourth day running at the Lahore City Cricket Association Ground on Saturday. Even a single innings could not be played to its limit, as WAPDA, resuming at 249 for 9, added a solitary run when the match was called off due to poor weather, bad light and the heavy fog.

WAPDA, who were the tournament runners-up in 2003-04, thus remain at second place in the five-team Group B table with 12 points from three matches. NBP have been Patron's Trophy champions on five occasions and they continue to be at the third spot with a tally of nine points. With only 7.3 overs play possible on Wednesday's opening day, the second day saw 60.1 overs being bowled. The count was down to 15.2 on Friday while a mere two overs could be sent down on the final day before the umpires decided to end the players' agony.

NBP will now play their fifth and final round match, starting from Tuesday, against Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) at the same venue. WAPDA have their next match coming up from the same day against top-of-the-table Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), at the Sheikhupura Stadium.