KARACHI: Off-spinner Atif Maqbool grabbed his third successive five-for in the Faysal Bank Quaid-i-Azam Trophy National Cricket Championship to help Karachi Blues dismiss Rawalpindi for a paltry 153 at the National Stadium here on Monday.
The 31-year-old Atif, who had only eight five or more wickets innings’ hauls in 40 first-class matches before taking two more — 6-60 and 7-59 — in the Blues’ two-day victory by an innings and 145 runs over Abbottabad at the NBP Sports Complex just four days ago, made life tough for the Pindi boys as he claimed five for 62 in 21.5 overs.
After asked to bat first by Karachi Blues skipper Mohammad Sami, Rawalpindi got to off a bright start with Naved Malik striking three boundaries in a 24-ball 21. Fellow opener and skipper Babar Naeem was run out after a watchful 70-ball 20.
Umar Amin, who toured India recently with Pakistan for the Twenty20 Internationals but didn’t get a chance, was caught behind by Sarfraz Ahmed off Sami after making 36. The elegant left-hander laced his 94-ball innings with five boundaries.
Sohail Tanvir, also a fresh returnee from the Indian tour, struck six fours in becoming the top scorer for the visitors with a 90-ball 37 before was caught by Fawad Alam off Atif. Shoaib Ahmed Minhas (11) and Adnan Mufti (12) were the only other batsmen to enter double figures.
Rawalpindi, however, hit back to have the home side in some bother at 21-2 when stumps were drawn for the day with left-arm seamer Sadaf Hussain taking care of openers Khalid Latif (2) and Saad Ali (4) in a fiery five-over burst.
In the only other match that began on Monday, Karachi Whites posted 261-6 against Sialkot after captain Faisal Iqbal won the toss and opted to bat first at the NBP Sports Complex.
In-form Khurram Manzoor led the way by stroking eight boundaries in his 147-ball innings of 63 before he was bowled by slow left-armer Nabeel Malik. Mohammad Waqas also made a good impression with an 84-ball 53 that included nine fours until he fell to Test spinner Abdur Rehman.
Faisal was trapped in front of the stumps by Rehman for a bright 31. The Test discard’s 42-ball knock was embellished with four hits to the fence.
The Whites were in danger of being bowled out on the opening day itself when they lost the sixth wicket at 192. But wicket-keeper Mohammad Hasan and paceman Tanvir Ahmed, who is gradually emerging as an all-rounder, came together in an unbroken partnership of 69 in the final 72 minutes of play to complete a satisfactory day for the hosts.
Tanvir was the more aggressive of the two as he unleashed seven fours in scoring 41 from 64 deliveries, while Hasan’s 70-ball 30 includes four boundaries.
Rehman, the slow left-armer, had a marathon stint of 36 overs in which he conceded 90 runs and snared three wickets.
Meanwhile, the remaining four third-round fixtures will start from Tuesday with Lahore Ravi hosting Quetta at LCCA Ground in Lahore, Multan taking on Peshawar at the Multan Cricket Stadium, Bahawalpur facing Abbottabad at the Dring (also known as Bahawal) Stadium in Bahawalpur and Lahore Shalimar visiting Faisalabad at the Iqbal Stadium.
Close of play scores on Monday (day one of four):
At NBP Sports Complex, Karachi: KARACHI BLUES 261-6 in 83 overs (Khurram Manzoor 63, Mohammad Waqas 53, Tanvir Ahmed 41 not out, Faisal Iqbal 31, Mohammad Hasan 30 not out; Abdur Rehman 3-90) v SIALKOT.
At National Stadium, Karachi: RAWALPINDI 153 in 69.5 overs (Sohail Tanvir 37, Umar Amin 36; Atif Maqbool 5-62); KARACHI WHITES 21-2 in 11 overs (Sadaf Hussain 2-10).