Umar Gul, the fast bowler, celebrated his recall to the Pakistan A line-up for next month's tour opener against the Indians with a five-wicket haul for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) against Pakistan Customs on the opening day of their Group A fourth-round Patron's Trophy Cricket Championship match at the United Bank Limited (UBL) Sports Complex Ground No.1 at Karachi.
Umar's figures of 5 for 64 in 19 overs had Customs bowled out for a modest 199. By the close of play, PIA had reached 46 for 2 after having lost Yasir Hameed and Agha Sabir rather cheaply. Customs were well served by a 130-run fourth-wicket partnership between Kashif Siddiq and Fawad Alam, both left-handers, but the last seven wickets crashed for the addition of a mere 38 after the score at one stage had been an impressive 161 for 3. Fawad, 20, top-scored with a mature 79, made off 114 balls in a little over two hours at the wicket, while Kashif's 58 came off 126 with six hits to the ropes.
Umar was ably supported by Tahir Khan, whose offspinners captured him 4 for 65 in 19.2 overs as three Customs batsmen failed to get off the mark. Both Customs and PIA have played two matches each in the five-team Group A, with six points each to their credit. They are aiming to be in the top two that will qualify for the tournament's Quadrangular Stage round.
Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) did their chances of averting relegation to next season's Grade-II circuit no good when they spent the entire opening day of their fourth-round Patron's Trophy match against Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) at the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Sports Complex in Karachi struggling to get a poor total of 195 for 8.
The new-ball pair of Sajid Ali and Asad Ali plucked five of these wickets as KRL, after having been put in first, had half their side back in the pavilion with only 108 on the board. Saeed Anwar Junior, the left-handed opener, and Mohammad Wasim, who has earned a call-up to the Pakistan A team for the opening warm-up game against the Indians, perished at the same score of 19. The third wicket fell at 31.
Mohtashim Ali and Usman Saeed, both youngsters, then retrieved the situation with a 67-run fourth-wicket stand. Mohtashim, 24, made 32 with two fours off 90 balls while Usman, 19, top-scored with 34 off 90 deliveries with two hits to the ropes.The later batsmen all got runs but did not last long. Azhar Ali, the allrounder, was unbeaten on 31 in a patient display having negotiated 111 balls with a solitary boundary.
With him is Saeed Ajmal, the offspinner, with an unbeaten 18 in just short of an hours' batting. The unbroken ninth-wicket stand has so far produced 32 invaluable runs. Sajid Ali, Lahore's left-arm fast-medium, finished the day with figures of 3 for 33 in his first match of the season. Mohammad Salman, the SNGPL wicketkeeper, held four catches in the innings.
KRL have already lost their first three matches in the tournament and are placed at rock bottom in the five-team points table. Another loss here will definitely get them demoted to the Patron's Trophy Grade-II competition next season. After two matches, SNGPL are currently at second place behind Habib Bank, with a total of nine points. The two top teams from the two groups qualify for the Quadrangular Stage round that gets underway from January 15.
In a truncated opening day's play, Service Industries scored 174 for 6 in their fourth-round Patron's Trophy match against Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) at the Sheikhupura Stadium.
Of the 83 overs to be bowled during a day's play, 68 were actually sent down yesterday after Naved Ashraf put Service Industries in first. The first five wickets fell with only 72 on the board, of which Shaiman Anwar scored 33 off 62 balls with six boundaries.
Khurram Shahzad and Mustansar Ali, the middle-order batsmen, then got involved in an invaluable sixth-wicket partnership of 102. While Khurram was dismissed shortly before the match was called off, for 48 off 131 balls in almost three hours with four fours, Mustansar remained unbeaten on 55 with six fours and a six in a little over two and half hours' batting. For ZTBL, Tanvir Ahmed, the opening bowler, took 2 for 41 while Bilal Asad's medium fast bowling earned him figures of 3 for 25 from 15 overs.
ZTBL, four-time champions of the competition, have collected no points in the ongoing tournament. Service Industries had qualified for the first-class tournament after winning the Patron's Trophy Grade-II title last season. They appear to be going towards demotion again.
Only 7.3 overs of play was possible due to bad weather and poor light on the opening day of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP)'s Group B fourth-round Patron's Trophy match against Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), here at the Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) Ground.
In the 45 deliveries bowled in the day, WAPDA, who had been asked to bat first, managed just 14 runs. Adil Nisar, the captain, and Ahmed Said, the wicketkeeper, remained unbeaten on 7 and 3 respectively. While WAPDA have been strengthened by the inclusion of Mohammad Yousuf and Mushtaq Ahmed, both players with national experience, the NBP line-up has in its midst Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal, Yasir Arafat and Mohammad Sami, all national representatives.
Sami bowled 3.3 overs yesterday and, although he sent down no maidens, he conceded just four. Wasim Khan, his bowling partner, had figures of 0 for 6 off four overs. WAPDA, who were the tournament runners-up in 2003-04, are at second place in the five-team Group B table with 12 points from two matches. NBP have been Patron's Trophy champions on five occasions and are the third spot with a tally of nine points.