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Defending champions Sialkot suffered a setback as they conceded a crucial 28-run first innings lead to Faisalabad, but then by the second day's close in their four-day, second round 49th Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Cricket Championship Gold League match, they struck hard to swing right back into the game.
Having resumed at their overnight 26 for one, after last season's runners-up Faisalabad had compiled a score of 250 all out, Sialkot were soon tottering at 36 for four. Then came a characteristically belligerent knock of 72 by their skipper Imran Nazir, who had retired hurt on Friday afternoon.
Pakistan discard Imran returned to hammer his runs off a mere 97 balls with 10 fours and a six. Later, Shahzad Malik hit 52 off 81 balls with eight fours while wicket-keeper Haafiz Khalid remained unbeaten with 37 off 69 balls that included two fours and two sixes.
But Sialkot were dismissed for a modest 222 runs that gave Faisalabad a 28-run lead. Then the latter lost four wickets for 58 runs by the day's close in their second innings, which leaves them only 86 runs ahead with six wickets in hand.
For Faisalabad, pacemen Asad Ali and Ahmed Hayat and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal all captured three wickets each. Three of their batsmen later on failed to score, but opener Imran Ali is holding the fort with 41 not out, off 78 balls with eight hits to the rope.
Left-arm paceman Waqar Ahmed and ex-Test opener Wajahatullah Wasti produced splendid bowling and batting performances, respectively, as Peshawar got an important 46-run first innings lead against Karachi Urban, on the second day of their four-day, second round 49th Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Cricket Championship Gold League match.
Peshawar, responding to Karachi Urban's first innings score of 214, were bowled out for 260 in the 81st over just before close on day two of their tie. Wajahatullah, batting with confidence, scored an unbeaten 81 with eleven fours and a brace of sixes off 158 balls in a little over four hours and opener Aftab Khan earlier hit nine boundaries in his 53 that came off 87 balls in 108 minutes.
Urban were with a chance to get the first innings lead after Peshawar were reeling at 115 for six wickets at one stage with off-spinner Tahir Khan picking up four important wickets. But Wajahatullah held his team's batting together with three valuable partnerships with the tail-enders.
He first put on 44 runs for the seventh wicket with Aslam Qureshi (21 with three fours) and added another 48 runs for the eighth wicket involving captain Arshad Khan, whose contribution was 31 with five hits to the boundary. Wajahatullah with Waqar (0 off 19 balls in 35 minutes) scored 30 runs for the last wicket.
Earlier, Waqar caused the slide in Karachi's batting with the second new ball with three quick wickets. He bowled Imran Javed with the first delivery with the new ball for 52, which was laced with six fours. Waqar later added the wickets of Tanvir Ahmed and Nauman Alvi. Waqar ended with six wickets for 50 runs in 22.1 overs while fellow paceman Riaz Afridi got three for 37.
Rawalpindi gained an overall lead of 148 runs over Karachi Harbour with five second innings wickets still intact, as their four-day, second round 49th Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Cricket Championship Gold League match entered an interesting phase after the second day action.
Rawalpindi shot Karachi Harbour out for a first innings 149 after the visitors had resumed on their overnight 35-2. They thus collected a crucial 26 runs lead and then the home side finished the day on 122-5.
Fawad Alam hit the top score of 48 off 99 balls in two and a half hours with four boundaries in the Karachi Harbour first innings. He got some support from one-down batsman Akbar Rehman who scored 32 off 49 balls with four hits to the boundary rope.
The left-arm pace duo of Najaf Shah and Sohail Tanvir led the bowling attack for Rawalpindi with three wickets each, for 21 and 38 runs, respectively. All-rounder Yasir Arafat and another medium-fast bowler Rizwan Akbar claimed two wickets each.
Opener Babar Naeem hammered a brisk 50 off 59 balls with six fours and two sixes for Rawalpindi while the number four batsman Naved Ashraf contributed 33 off 50 balls with five fours and one six as Karachi's teenaged pace spearhead Anwar Ali captured 3-51, bringing his match haul to nine wickets so far.
Middle order batsman Bilal Khilji hit a crispy unbeaten 110 and Azhar Shafiq added a solid 74 as Multan reached 269 for eight in 64 overs in their first innings, on the second day of the four-day, second round 49th Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Cricket Championship Silver League match against Lahore Ravi.
The 31-year-old Bilal gave ample proof of his batting talent with his first-class career's fourth hundred, striking 11 boundaries in an absorbing knock off 178 balls as the left-handed Azhar also entertained with a lively innings. At stumps, the touring side was still 28 runs behind surpassing Lahore's first innings total of 297 all out in 85.3 overs after they resumed at their overnight score of 271 for eight in 77 overs.
Bilal together with Azhar produced 133 runs for the third wicket to lift their side out of sheer gloom after they were 1 for 1 and then 12 for two. The stand was broken with the departure of Azhar lbw by paceman Wasim Khan who has done the major damage with hostile bowling taking five wickets for 79 runs in 20 overs. Azhar hammered 16 fours in his 102-ball innings.
Multan lost four wickets with only eight runs added therafter. Bilal then got associated with Imranullah Aslam (38 with seven boundaries off 57 balls) in a stand for the seventh wicket of 75 runs. Earlier, Multan's paceman Azharullah finished with figures of five for 46 in 22 overs. Ali Azmat, 75 overnight, perished at 84, made off 134 balls with 12 fours.
Islamabad put the Quetta bowling to the sword to collect a massive 419 runs first innings lead, on the second day of their four-day, second round 49th Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Cricket Championship Silver League match.
Islamabad, replying to Quetta's poor first innings total of 161, gathered 580 all out in 122.3 overs after resuming at their overnight 185 for three. Even Islamabad's last wicket pair of Fakhir Hussain and Zohaib Ahmed plundered 107 runs. Fakhir hit 54 with nine fours and a six while no. 11 batsman Zohaib Ahmed picked up 52 with nine fours.
The other notable contributors with the bat were Imad Wasim with his 88, Ashar Zaidi 48 and Test discard Azhar Mahmood 57. However, the top scorer of the day was no.9 batsman Naeem Anjum, the wicket-keeper, who scored 83 with a dozen hits to the fence.
The main wicket-taker for Quetta was off-spinner Naseer Khan for his six for 174. Left-arm spinner Jalat Khan ended up with 3-114. Quetta lost Jalat Khan, who was dismissed by Rao Iftikhar, and were batting on 2-1 at stumps. Hameedullah Khan and Yasir Majeed were at the crease.
All-rounder Rizwan Ahmed scored his second century in successive matches, as Hyderabad compiled an exact 400 on the second day of their four-day, second round 49th Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Cricket Championship Silver League match against Abbottabad.
By the day's close, Abbottabad had replied with a resolute 168 runs for the loss of four wickets. They are still 232 behind Hyderabad, but first they need to reach a score of 251 to avert the follow-on. Rizwan attained the fourth hundred of his first-class career, his 119 coming off 250 balls with eight fours and a six. Shahid Qambrani hit 10 fours and two sixes in his 87 as he and Rizwan took their fourth-wicket stand to 147 runs after Hyderabad resumed at their overnight 282-3.
Leg-spinner Dilawar Khan then saw to it that Hyderabad didn't capitalise on that situation, by taking four wickets for 121 runs. Slow left-armer Amjad Waqas finished with figures of three for 93. Abbottabad batsman Adnan Raees is still at the crease with an unbeaten 52 to his name, that's come off 125 deliveries with five fours.