Having lost the top spot and slipped to third place after last week's loss Habib Bank Limited (HBL) suffered another setback against Lahore Ravi, dismissed for 233 at the Lahore Country Club. HBL's makeshift opening pair of Rafatullah Mohmand (0) and Sajid Shah (1) made a poor start and their last eight wickets fell for just 97. But a 123-run third-wicket partnership between Kamran Hussain (84) and Aftab Alam (86) prevented total calamity as Salman Rahat, the left-arm fast-medium bowler, picked up his first five-wicket haul. And by close, HBL had fought back into contention, Shah, in his first match of the season, taking two wickets with only 30 runs on the board.
Powered by fluent individual hundreds from opener Nasir Jamshed and the experienced Naumanullah, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) managed a robust 278 for 3 against Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) at the NBP Sports Complex in Karachi. Imran Nazir, NBP's captain and opener, was dismissed without scoring but WAPDA, who are the new leaders of the 11-team Group A table, had to wait as Jamshed and Naumanullah put on 231 before their next breakthrough. Shahid Yousuf fell cheaply soon after.
Faisalabad made a strong start against Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) at Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad, ending the day on 264 for two. The total was built on a 146-run opening partnership Usman Arshad and Imran Ali, on an opening day shortened by bad light. At stumps, Ammar Mahmood (42) and Ijaz Ahmed (43) had added an ubeaten 74 for the third wicket to drive home Faisalabad's advantage.
Multan rattled up 286 runs for the loss of only two wickets against Pakistan Customs at the Gymkhana Ground. Gulraiz Sadaf (57) and Usman Tariq gave Multan a 130-run start. Though Tariq was unlucky to miss his century by nine runs, Abdul Rauf (83) and Rameez Alam (33) carried on the good work by adding added 103 runs in an unbroken third-wicket partnership.
Bad light brought an early close to the match at Jinnah Stadium in Sialkot, as only 73.4 overs were possible. It was time enough for Hyderabad to reach 208 for 4 against Sialkot. A century by opener Aqeel Anum and useful contributions from the middle order gave Hyderabad a decent start, as Sialkot tried six bowlers through the day without much success.
Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) reached 114 for 3 after bowling out Islamabad for 178 runs in their first innings at the Diamond Cricket Club Ground in Islamabad. An 81-run opening partnership between Mohammad Hafeez and Yasir Arafat laid the foundations of a healthy reply after Asad Ali's five-wicket haul had restricted Islamabad in what were batsmen-friendly conditions. Islamabad, who have slipped to third place in Group B after having led the group, were tottering at 106 for 8 at one stage, before a fighting 56 off 42 balls by Fakhar Hussain added a bare respectability to the total.
Top of the table Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) reached 15 without loss after dismissing Quetta for a paltry 171 runs at the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) Stadium. Former Pakistan Under-19s star Anwar Ali took 4 for 46 runs and off-spinner Tahir Khan chipped in with 3 for 25 as Quetta lost their last six wickets for only 40 runs.
At the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) reached 247 for six against bottom-placed Abbottabad thanks largely to Adnan Raza's 91. Noor-ul-Amin picked up three wickets while the rest of the bowling attack though he wasn't given the support he needed from the rest of his attack.
Bad light hampered proceedings at Arbab Niaz Stadium in Peshawar as KRL and Peshawar were forced to head home after only 57 overs. At close, KRL were 192 for five with Saeed Anwar still at the crease with an unbeaten 86. Former Test player Ali Naqvi's 64 helped Anwar add 144 runs for the fourth wicket.
Karachi Blues took honours on a shortened first day in which only 41 overs were possible by restricting Lahore Shalimar to 143 for 8 at the Sheikhupura Stadium. Choosing to field first, Karachi got the first breakthrough in the first over of the match and Lahore were unable to recover from that. Karachi needed only three bowlers to do the job, as Faraz Ahmed Khan took 3 for 22 from nine overs while Tariq Haroon (3 for 61) and Malik Aftab (2 for 54) provided good support.