A depleted Karachi Harbour didn't do too badly on the opening day of their final round Pentangular Cup match against National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) at the Gaddafi Stdium. Karachi were dismissed for 249 and then bagged one NBP wicket before the end of the day.
The Karachi side, lying at the bottom of the points table with three straight defeats, did well to reach a score of 215 for 3 after having been put in to bat. However, the last seven wickets fell for 34 runs. National Bank's in-form fast bowler Wasim Khan again pulled a performance right out of the top drawer with figures of 6 for 57 in 27 overs. Mohammad Sami rattled the tail, taking 3 for 73 in 24.5 overs.
Mohtashim Ali, the opener, top-scored for Karachi with 77 off 144 balls with 15 fours as he and Mansoor Baig added 84 runs for the second wicket. Mansoor hit 43 off 65 balls with seven fours.
Mohtashim then got involved in a 60-run partnership for the third wicket with Afsar Nawaz. Afsar made 48 off 117 balls with six fours and found an able partner in Fawad Alam during a 60-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Fawad reached 40 off 86 deliveries with four fours, but following his dismissal Karachi Harbour capitulated. Then it was the turn of NBP's opener Salman Butt to fall cheaply yet again.
NBP may still not find much difficulty in defeating Karachi Harbour eventually, a result that will also enable them to clinch the Pentangular Cup title. Even a draw with first-innings lead will give NBP the trophy.
National Bank, looking to go beyond Faisalabad to snatch the Pentangular Cup title, have lost three leading players - Shahid Yousuf, Mansoor Amjad and Yasir Arafat - to the Pakistan A team now playing in Abu Dhabi in the EurAsia Cricket Series. But they have acquired the services of Kamran Akmal, the national wicketkeeper, to boost their chances.
Sialkot scored 278 and reduced Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to 69 for 3 on the opening day of an inconsequential fifth-round match at Multan. Neither team is in the running for the eventual title, as PIA only have nine points while Sialkot have just six.
Sialkot's 278 would not have been possible had it not been for a blitz by their wicketkeeper Haafiz Khalid. He had to retire hurt early on and when he returned Sialkot were 192 for 9 having lost three wickets on the same score.
In partnership with Adeel Malik, Khalid hammered 64 runs off 73 balls with eight fours as the last-wicket stand produced an incredible 86 runs. Adeel remained unbeaten on 61 off 73 balls with five fours and four sixes.
Earlier, opener Haafiz Majid Jahangir had contributed 62 off 120 balls with seven fours, and put together a 98-run second-wicket stand with Inam-ul-Haq, whose 44 came off 65 deliveries with six boundaries.
The PIA pace bowling duo was excellent, Najaf Shah picking up 5 for 54 and Fazl-e-Akbar 4 for 66. Ali Gohar's medium-fast bowling went for 81 runs in nine overs.
The PIA batting got rattled when it was their turn to bat. However, Faisal Iqbal, the captain who was returning from national duty in Abu Dhabi, is yet to bat.