Peshawar sensed victory as Rawalpindi still required 40 to save an innings defeat with four second-innings wickets standing, on the penultimate day at the Pindi Cricket Stadium. Rawalpindi slipped to 127 for 6 by stumps inspite off a gallant 87 by opener Baber Naeem after Peshawar posted 397 earlier in the day to take a 167-run first innings lead.
Shoaib Khan, coming in to bat at no.4, was the architect of the Peshawar first-innings total with his 131 off 291 balls. He batted for 438 minutes, hitting 11 boundaries, after resuming on his overnight 88 with Peshawar on 285 for 6. Wicketkeeper Zulfiqar Jan got an exact 50 to consolidate the Peshawar innings with his 144-run seventh-wicket stand with Shoaib. Medium-pacer Rizwan Akbar and left-arm seamer Najaf Shah captured four wickets each for Rawalpindi. Naeem hammered 13 boundaries and a six before handing a return catch to former Pakistan offspinner Arshad Khan. Babar and Pervez Aziz were involved in a fourth-wicket stand of 78 but Rawalpindi then lost another three wickets in quick succession as Peshawar wrested back the advantage.
Karachi Urban gained a narrow 20-run first-innings lead against Karachi Harbour at the National Stadium in Karachi. Responding to Karachi Urban's first-innings total of 367, Karachi Harbour were dismissed for 347, but not before fine half-centuries from captain Hasan Raza and Saeed Bin Nasir. At stumps yesterday, Karachi Urban were 120 for 4 in their second innings, with an overall lead of 140.
Karachi Harbour opener Shadab Kabir (6), captain Naumanullah (0) and Aariz Kamal (22) all fell cheaply again. However, opener Khalid Latif hit a stubborn 47 with eight fours. Earlier, Harbour's last six wickets crumbled for 72 after they were well-placed at 275 for 4 at one stage. Seamers Anwar Ali and Faraz Ahmed chipped in with two wickets each after the departure of Raza. Raza smashed a sparkling 76 off 104 balls in 168 minutes striking 13 boundaries. Faraz proved to be best of the Karachi Urban bowlers with 3 for 85 runs in 24 overs.
A determined 33-run last-wicket stand gave Lahore Shalimar the crucial first-innings lead, as they managed to reach 258 in response to Faisalabad's 257. Having conceded the lead, Faisalabad were 287 for 8 in their second innings. The match can now go either way on the final day. An outright win will give Lahore the full nine points while Faisalabad can hope to gain no more than six.
After three wickets fell with only 30 on board, Faisalabad were lifted by a 123-run fourth-wicket partnership between Misbah-ul-Haq and Naved Latif. Misbah missed what would have been his 23rd first-class century by just three runs. He batted for little over three and three-quarter hours for his 97, that came off 160 balls and included eight fours and two sixes. Latif made 67 off a mere 89 balls with 13 boundaries. Wicketkeeper Mohammad Salman is still at the crease with a quick 64 off 87 balls. Arsalan Mir jolted the innings with three cheap wickets in just four overs.
As expected, Quetta crashed to an innings and 131-run defeat against Multan inside three days at the Multan Cricket Stadium. Having earlier fallen 392 behind Multan's huge total of 524 for 7, Quetta did better than their first-innings score of 132, making 261.
Quetta's wicketkeeper Hameedullah Khan stood out for his maiden first-class hundred, his 112 coming off 241 balls with 17 fours and a six. His opening stand was worth 65 and although there were several partnerships later on, they were small and not significant enough. Legspinner Imranullah Aslam took 3 for 29 in 20 overs and Multan captain Saeed Anwar Jnr, a slow left-armer, hastened Quetta's end with 3 for 12 off 31 deliveries. Multan will now meet Lahore Ravi in their next round match in Lahore starting Friday. Quetta play against Islamabad at Islamabad from the same day.
Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar got an early call to join the Pakistan squad in South Africa, as he played a stellar role in putting Islamabad on the way to an innings victory, against Abbottabad at the Diamond Club Ground in Islamabad. Shoaib had figures of 4 for 56 and 1 for 21 in the two Abbottabad innings. Facing Islamabad's mammoth 526 for 6 declared, Abbottabad were dismissed for a poor 129 in their first innings and following-on they reached 209 but lost seven wickets on the way.
They still need another improbable 188 to avert the innings defeat. Resuming at their overnight 82 for 7, 444 behind Islamabad, Abbottabad were all out for 129. Shoaib took three wickets on Sunday while skipper Rao Iftikhar took 3 for 25. Abbottabad were off to a sound 67-run start the second time round. Wicketkeeper Ahmed Said top-scored with 60 off 103 balls with 10 fours while Mohammad Naeem contributed 42, off just 51 balls, with nine boundaries. Abbottabad appeared to be cruising along, but former Pakistan allrounder Azhar Mahmood took two quick wickets to stop their progress. He ended the day with figures of 3 for 27.
Lahore Ravi slumped to 188 for 8 in their second innings , after Hyderabad extended their first-innings lead to 92 runs. At the end of the third day, Lahore Ravi were only 96 ahead of them with just two second-innings wickets standing.
Lahore were struggling at nine for four, as opening bowlers Naeem-ur-Rehman and Farhan Ayub struck twice each, before a 90-run fifth-wicket stand between Ali Azmat and wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal lifted them. Ali Azmat hit 56 off 108 balls with three boundaries while Akmal scored an unbeaten 52. Earlier, Hyderabad raised their overnight 308 for 5 to 357, chasing a Lahore's first-innings score of 265. Shahid Qambrani's knock ended at 85, made off 151 balls with eight fours.