KARACHI: Umar Akmal couldn’t have hoped for a more better opportunity to come really good in the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy National Cricket Championship when his stroke-filled century on Friday inspired Habib Bank Limited (HBL)’s great start to their decisive Pool ‘A’ fixture in Faisalabad.
At stumps on day one the last-round game at the Iqbal Stadium, HBL justified skipper Imran Farhat’s decision to bat first by reaching 334-4 against arch-rivals National Bank of Pakistan (NBP). With both teams very much in the running for the one available Super Eight berth, HBL seized early advantage thanks to Umar’s 166-ball innings of 129 that included a dozen fours and one six.
Opener Mohammad Waqas (57 off 151 balls, three boundaries) an Imran (54 off 74, nine fours) put on 103 for the second wicket before Umar dominated the remainder of play for the day. The long-discarded Pakistan right-hander and Ramiz Aziz shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 148 until Umar was dismissed by paceman Atif Jabbar just before stumps.
Retired Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq defied his advancing age to top score with 66 as holders Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) recovered from 77-5 to make 216 all out after Khan Research Laboratories) asked the visitors to bat first at the KRL Stadium in Rawalpindi.
The 44-year-old Misbah — playing because the champions’ first-choice players like Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali and regular skipper Mohammad Hafeez are on national duty — negotiated 131 deliveries during his 190-minute stay while striking 11 fours an one six against his old employers before becoming of three wickets for left-arm paceman Sadaf Hussain.
Haris Asif was most successful wicket-taker with figures of 4-66 before KRL reached 26-0 at close of play.
In the battle to avoid relegation, the diminutive left-handed Ali Sarfraz hit a brisk 102 off 131 balls (12 boundaries) to help bottom-placed region Islamabad post 273-4 against fellow strugglers Lahore Whites at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
Lahore Blues brightened their Super Eight aspirations by first-innings advantage in the their must-win Pool ‘B’ clash with Karachi Whites at Lahore’s LCCA Ground where 20 wickets fell on the opening day.
After being sent in by Khurram Manzoor — leading the side in absence of regular captain Anwar Ali — Lahore Blues were swiftly dismissed for 128 in 39 overs. But the home side then bounced back quite spectacularly through their new-ball pair of Aizaz Cheema and Bilawal Iqbal.
Former Pakistan representative Aizaz extended his haul of victims at top of the championship bowling chart to 44 as the 39-year-old grabbed 6-40 as Karachi Whites were restricted to 111 all out in 23.4 overs. Bilal claimed 4-32.
By stumps Lahore Blues were overall leading by 28 runs at 11-0 in their second innings.
Pakistan Television (PTV), the department fighting to retain first-class status for next season, were 22-0 after last season runners-up Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) had been bowled out for 289 at the Marghazar Cricket Ground in the federal capital.
Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), who are also in with an outside chance of qualifying for the next phase of the competition, were 96-3 after Peshawar made 235 at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium in Abbottabad. The highpoint of the play was Israrullah, who hammered a dazzling 133 from 165 balls with the aid of 20 fours and three sixes.
Mohammad Amir, who on Thursday was overlooked for next week’s Twenty20 International series against Australia in the UAE, captured just one wicket (for 38 runs) as Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) battled to 231-6 against Pool ‘B’ leaders Sui Southern Gas Pipelines Limited (SSGCL) at the Diamond Club Ground in Islamabad.
Close of play scores on Friday (day one of four):
At Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad: HBL 334-4 in 85 overs (Umar Akmal 129, Ramiz Aziz 67 not out, Mohammad Waqas 57, Imran Farhat 54; Atif Jabbar 3-73) vs NBP.
At Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore: ISLAMABAD 273-4 in 82 overs (Ali Sarfraz 102, Rizwan Ali 56, Rohail Nazir 50 not out; Waqas Ahmed 3-0-105) vs LAHORE WHITES.
At KRL Stadium, Rawalpindi: SNGPL 216 in 65.2 overs (Misbah-ul-Haq 66, Naeemuddin 40, Samiullah Khan Niazi 29, Bilawal Bhatti 25, Imran Khalid 20; Haris Asif 4-66, Sadaf Hussain 3-48, Ahmed Bashir 2-61); KRL 26-1 in 12 overs.
At Abbottabad Cricket Stadium, Abbottabad: PESHAWAR 235 in 62 overs (Israrullah 133, Sajid Khan 30; Asif Afridi 3-32, Mohammad Talha 3-83, Abdul Rauf 2-49); FATA 96-3 in 21 overs (Basit Afridi 40 not out, Mohammad Arif 21, Samiullah 20 retired hurt; Sajid Khan 2-19).
At LCCA Ground, Lahore: LAHORE BLUES 128 in 39 overs (Saad Nasim 31; Waqar Anwar 3-35, Adeel Malik 2-18, Mohammad Sami 2-24, Abdullah Mukaddam 2-32) and 11-0 in 4 overs; KARACHI WHITES 111 in 23.4 overs (Mohammad Hasan 32, Saad Ali 28, Mohammad Sami 23; Aizaz Cheema 6-40, Bilawal Iqbal 4-32).
At Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi: MULTAN 212 in 57.1 overs (Zeeshan Ashraf 101, Yousuf Babar 41, Hasnain Bukhari 29, Usman Liaquat 27; Syed Tauseeq Shah 5-75, Saad Altaf 4-70); RAWALPINDI 56-1 in 16 overs (Tayyab Riaz 29, Zeeshan Malik 24 not out).
At Diamond Club Ground, Islamabad: ZTBL 231-6 in 84.5 overs (Anas Mustafa 75, Munir-ur-Rehman Tanzil 46, Saadullah Ghauri 30, Haseeb-ur-Rehman 21 not out; Azhar Attari 3-38, Umar Amin 2-49, Mohammad Amir 1-38) vs SSGCL.
At Marghazar Cricket Ground, Islamabad: WAPDA 289 in 65.4 overs (Bismillah Khan 75, Ayaz Tasawwar 58, Kamran Akmal 50, Ehsan Adil 29; Azharullah 5-96, Aamir Jamal 3-50); PTV 22-0 in 8 overs.
Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2018