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Multan defeated Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) in a thriller by a three wickets margin, on the final day of their fifth-round match, at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Friday.
Multan required a mere 116 to win but they made heavy weather of the task at hand. They lost seven wickets before they got home. The first four wickets fell with just 23 on the board, then the total was taken to 94 but three more wickets were lost. Naved Yasin, with an unbeaten 27, was joined by skipper Rauf, who made 20 not out and the two took their team to an exciting win.
SSGC medium-fast bowler Shakeel-ur-Rehman from Peshawar had meanwhile bowled his heart out in bringing his team near a difficult triumph. Shakeel took five for 64 yesterday, that gave him a match haul of 10 for 162. In the end, though, his was a futile effort.
Multan with 18 points from five matches have now jumped up to sixth place in the 11-team ranking, from their previous eighth spot. SSGC are down to number seven from the fifth positon, with 18 points from four appearances.
Wasim Khan took five wickets and offspinner Irfanuddin chipped in with three to power National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) to a eight-wicket win against Karachi Whites at the NBP Sports Complex Stadium on Friday.
Resuming at their overnight 97 for 3, still 29 runs behind their opponents, Karachi Whites managed only a modest 202 in their second innings. That left National Bank a small target of 78 runs, which they achieved with ease.
The only Karachi batsman to show some defiance yesterday was Daniyal Ahsan. He batted just over four hours and faced 156 balls in scoring 63 runs that included five fours. For National Bank, first innings centurion Nasir Jamshed was again in good form in the second, making an unbeaten 40 off 57 balls with six fours and two sixes.
In five matches, National Bank have now taken their points tally to 36, but remain at second place behind Habib Bank in the 11-team Group A ranking. Habib Bank too have 36 points to their credit, but in only four appearances, and they also have a superior net run-rate. After five matches, of which they have won two and lost two, Karachi Whites remain stuck at 21 points.
Islamabad returned to the top of the Group B ranking after registering an emphatic nine-wicket win over Karachi Blues at the Diamond Cricket Club Ground on Friday.
Having resumed at 87 for one, requiring only a further 59 runs, the second-wicket pair took the score to 149 for one as Islamabad emerged victorious comfortably. The unbroken partnership was worth 140 runs: Umair Khan hit 68 not out off 93 with 13 fours while Farrukh Hayat achieved the first half-century of his first-class career, making an unbeaten 51 off 107 deliveries.
Islamabad, who had slipped to number three in the 11-team Group B table following a defeat at the hands of Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) in the fourth round, are now back on the top. They have won all their other matches for a tally of 36 points.
At the Bugti Stadium Quetta, Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) went from eighth place to sixth when they beat Quetta by five wickets. They had needed only 144 runs to win and they did so for the loss of five wickets. KRL, however, collected only six points as they had earlier surrendered a nine-run first innings lead to Quetta.