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Asad, Taufiq put SNGPL on top, bowlers thrive in Hyderabad

Asad, Taufiq put SNGPL on top, bowlers thrive in Hyderabad

KARACHI: Discarded internationals Taufiq Umar and Asad Ali shared the first day’s spotlight as Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) took command of their third and final round Super Eight match against Lahore Blues in the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy National Cricket Championship here on Monday.

The batsmen continued to struggle for the second game running at the Niaz Stadium in Hyderabad where 16 wickets went down in the Group-II fixture between United Bank Limited and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC).

National Bank of Pakistan (NBP)’s bid to make the day/night final met with strong resistance from the doughty Karachi Whites who posted 232-4 in their first innings at the Southend Club Cricket Stadium in the other Group-II game.




In the inconsequential Group-I clash at the UBL Sports Complex, opener Atiq-ur-Rehman hammered 144 to drive Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) to 223-3 after Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) opted to bowl first upon winning the toss.

The toss was one key reason behind Lahore Blues capitulating for a measly 90 all out after SNGPL skipper Misbah-ul-Haq won it and put the regional outfit into bat. His decision reaped handsome rewards as Asad grabbed six wickets for 28 in 10.1 overs to give his side early advantage.

The tempo was set by discarded Test wicket-keeper Adnan Akmal who picked up a fine low catch to get rid of Mohammad Akhlaq for eight. Adnan altogether held four catches in the innings, all of them off Asad.

Poor Lahore Blues never really stood of getting their innings on the track as 18-2 soon became 28-5 while three wickets falling for no run. Wicket-keeper Farhan Khan (15) and Bilawal Iqbal (23 off 41 balls, three fours) added 26 for the seventh wicket which sadly turned out to be the highest of the innings.

Lahore Blues’ plight would have further gloomy had the upcoming fast bowler Azizullah not pulled out from this fixture because of fever and Bilawal Bhatti not been given a rest by head coach Basit Ali.

However, Lahore Blues enjoyed a moment of glory with the fourth delivery of the SNGPL’s reply when Aizaz Cheema managed to clean up Imran Butt for a duck.

But that the last wicket — and as it transpired later, their only success of the day — Lahore Blues got as the experienced Taufiq and fellow left-hander Hussain Talat shared a unbroken stand of 183 in 205 minutes to put SNGPL already in front by 93 runs.

For Taufiq it was a day of personal milestones. The 34-year-old, who played the last of his 44 Tests against New Zealand at Sharjah in November 2014, reached 10,000 runs in first-class cricket with his score on 89 and celebrated the coveted milestone by bringing up his 20th century in 166 matches.

Taufiq, who got to the three figures in 171 minutes off 123 balls, was batting with 109 with the aid of 17 boundaries, while Hussain had slammed 10 fours in his 145-ball knock of 69.

Atiq was Wapda’s mainstay as the 31-year-old registered his fourth hundred as he struck 22 boundaries and faced 270 balls before he was out at the closing stage of the day when left-arm paceman Sadaf Hussain trapped home LBW. Zahid Mansoor made 48 in the opening partnership of 141 with Atiq.

Former Pakistan captain Younis Khan was conspicuous by his absentee from the UBL line-up against SSGC in Hyderabad. According to a top team official, Younis had been forced to skip the must-win game for an unspecified personal reason.

But despite his absence, UBL, who are also missing Sohaib Maqsood, Sharjeel Khan and Rumman Raees Khan, held slight advantage after reaching 123-6 in response to SSGC’s 115 all out after Umar Amin decided to bat first at the toss.

Left-arm paceman Mir Hamza claimed 4-37 in 10 overs, Ehsan Adil 3-43 in 11.2 overs and Hammad Azam 2-14 as SSGC were bowled out in 31.2 overs. Gulraiz Sadaf also made a good impression by taking five catches.

Later it was Gulraiz who came to UBL’s rescue after the bankers lost half their side for 61 runs. He was still at the crease with an invaluable 36 from 71 deliveries.

Fast bowler Tabish Khan (3-29) and Adnan Ghaus (2-29) shared the bowling honours.

Opener Majid Khan was verge of reaching his best-ever score at the first-class level when 23-year-old right-hander held the Karachi Whites together with a patient 74 as his side nullified NBP’s advantage of winning the toss.

Karachi Whites lost the in-form Jaahid Ali for two before Majid, whose highest score is 79, and Mohammad Waqas (52) put on 93. Saud Shakeel (18) and captain Faisal Iqbal (17) went early but Majid and Yasir Mushtaq (47) completed a day for Karachi Whites by adding 84 for the ongoing fifth-wicket stand.

Close of play scores on Monday (day one of four):

Super Eight:

Third round:

Group-I:

At UBL Sports Complex, Karachi: WATER AND POWER DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY 223-3 in 85.1 overs (Atiq-ur-Rehman 144, Zahid Mansoor 48) vs KHAN RESEARCH LABORATORIES.

At National Stadium, Karachi: LAHORE BLUES 90 in 32.4 overs (Bilawal Iqbal 23; Asad Ali 6-28); SUI NORTHERN GAS PIPELINES LIMITED 183-1 in 48 overs (Taufiq Umar 109 not out, Hussain Talat 69 not out).

Group-II:

At Southend Club Cricket Stadium, Karachi: KARACHI WHITES 232-4 in 86 overs (Majid Khan 74 not out, Mohammad Waqas 52, Yasir Mushtaq 47 not out; Ahmed Jamal 2-59) vs NATIONAL BANK OF PAKISTAN.

At Niaz Stadium, Hyderabad: SUI SOUTHERN GAS COMPANY 115 in 31.2 overs (Usama Mir 34, Muzammil Nizam 19; Mir Hamza 4-37, Ehsan Adil 3-43, Hammad Azam 2-14); UNITED BANK LIMITED 123-6 in 44 overs (Gulraiz Sadaf 36 not out, Umar Siddique 26; Tabish Khan 3-29, Adnan Ghaus 2-29).

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2015

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