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Rameez leads HBL fightback against Wapda

Rameez leads HBL fightback against Wapda

KARACHI: Normal service resumed after a sensational start to the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy National Cricket Championship as a determined Rameez Aziz led Habib Bank Limited (HBL)’s magnificent recovery against Wapda with a dogged knock of 90 at the National Stadium on Saturday.

Dead and buried at 21-6 after 71 minutes of play, HBL bounced back brilliantly to post a respectable 236 all out on the opening day of the day-night five-day fixture.

Old guards Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Irfan with contrasting international backgrounds shared the major spoils before Wapda reached stumps without any mishaps as Adnan Raees (3) and captain Salman Butt (16) guiding them to 23-0.

The unassuming Rameez, a former Pakistan Under-19 representative, spearheaded the revival as the diminutive left-hander compiled a fighting 90 and along with skipper Abdur Rehman gave his side a total which seemed miles away after those early wickets went down without a trace.

HBL’s early display illustrated a tale of woes although there was nothing in the green-tinged pitch, which actually was devoid of having any venom other than the customary moisture, to suggest batting would be as difficult as it was made to look.

Barring the dismissal of Fakhar Zaman, who received a great delivery from Mohammad Asif in the second over of the innings, others showed distinct lack of application. Asif, the former Pakistan seamer who delivered a dream spell from the University Road End, got the fifth ball of his opening over to nip back into the left-hander that found a tiny gap before dislodging the top of the middle stump.

Asif further struck twice in three balls in his fourth over; Imam-ul-Haq edging an away going ball to second slip and Imran Farhat completing missing the line to be trapped leg-before-wicket by one that was hitting leg stump.

Imran, however, looked highly dejected as he trudged back but TV replays confirmed umpire Ahsan Raza made the right adjudication to end Pakistan discard’s very short stay at the wicket.

Without addition to the score, Ahmed Shehzad marked his return from the Bangladesh Premier League with a needless attempt to pull the gangling Mohammad Irfan who took over from Asif to make three inroads in quick successions from the Pavillion End.

Waqas Maqsood settled down calmly under the ball at mid-on to send back Shehzad for a scratchy 10 from 35 deliveries. Next up for Irfan was Jamal Anwar who failed to get on top of lifting delivery which hit the shoulder of the bat before landing safely in Aamir Sajjad’s hands at first slip as HBL slipped to 21-5 in the just the 13th over of the match.

In the same over and without any run being added, Mohammad Waqas makes an error in judgment and pays the ultimate price for unwisely playing back to one that Irfan pitched well up to get his man leg-before-wicket, although umpire Asif Yaqoob took a while to lift the dreaded finger to signal the batsman out.

Fahim Ashraf, a young man who has all virtues of becoming a decent all-rounder that Pakistan so desperately needs, raised hopes in the HBL camp. The 22-year-old from Kasur who bowls and bats left-handed, produced a mixture of some excellent strokes and as few risky ones as he hit six boundaries in scoring 44 from 79 balls.

The seventh-wicket partnership between him and Rameez yielded 84 priceless runs in 109 minutes. But a soft dismissal saw Fahim head back as spinning all-rounder Khalid Usman couldn’t hide his pleasure at making the breakthrough.

Amad Butt (21 off 35 balls) clobbered a couple of fours and hoisted Zulfiqar Babar for a six but failed to keep Rameez company for long when he got himself yorked to an arm delivery that Khalid fired low on the target to hit the middle stump of the right-hander.

At 137-8 Wapda were on top before Rameez and Rehman forged a superb rearguard action. The left-handed duo shared a stand of 99 in 136 minutes. Rehman showed the skills of the man who served Pakistan in the past with crucial runs late in the order.

The 36-year-old completed his 18th 50-plus score in first-class cricket before being bowled by Waqas just after the second new ball was taken. His 53 from 92 balls contained six hits to the fence.

Rameez was just 10 short of a sixth first-class century when his lack of trust in last man Usman khan Shinwari forced him to lob a simple catch to mid-on where Irfan palmed the ball without any fuss. But nonetheless it was an innings of dedication and temperament from Rameez who laced his 221-ball knock with seven fours and one straight six off Zulfiqar in a stay of 308 minutes.

Asif finished with 4-29 from 18.1 overs while Irfan bagged 3-34 from 14 overs with Khalid taking 2-40.

Before the game got underway Fateha Khawani was held for those who lost their lives in the tragic air crash on Wednesday near Abbottabad. Members of both the playing teams, match officials, PCB staff and media representatives in attendance. Also present on the occasion were national selectors Tauseef Ahmed, Wajahatullah Wasti and Wasim Haider.


HABIB BANK (1st innings):

Imam-ul-Haq c Adnan b Asif5

Fakhar Zaman b Asif4

Ahmed Shehzad c Waqas b Irfan10

Imran Farhat lbw b Asif0

Rameez Aziz c Irfan b Asif90

Jamal Anwar c Aamir b Irfan1

Mohammad Waqas lbw b Irfan0

Fahim Ashraf c and Khalid44

Amad Butt b Khalid21

Abdur Rehman b Waqas53

Usman Khan Shinwari not out0

EXTRAS (LB-4, NB-4)8

TOTAL (all out, 82.1 overs)236

FALL OF WKTS: 1-8, 2-19, 3-19, 4-19, 5-21, 6-21, 7-105, 8-137, 9-236.

BOWLING: Waqas Maqsood 17-4-56-1 (3nb); Mohammad Asif 18.1-4-29-4; Mohammad Irfan 14-2-34-3 (1nb); Zahid Mansoor

5-1-23-0; Zulfiqar Babar 15-3-50-0; Khalid Usman 15-3-40-2.

WAPDA (1st Innings):

Adnan Raees not out3

Salman Butt not out16

EXTRAS (LB-2, NB-2)4

TOTAL (for no wkt, 5 overs)23

TO BAT: Zahid Mansoor, Mohammad Saad, Aamir Sajjad, Kamran Akmal, Khalid Usman, Zulfiqar Babar, Waqas Maqsood, Mohammad Asif,. Mohammad Irfan.

BOWLING (to-date): Fahim Ashraf 2-0-7-0 (2nb); Usman Khan Shinwari 2-0-13-0; Abdur Rehman 1-0-1-0.

UMPIRES: Ahsan Raza and Asif Yaqoob.

TV UMPIRE: Ahmed Shahab.

MATCH REFEREE: Ishtiaq Ahmed.

SCORERS: Syed Imran Ali (official) and Salman Hussain Kazmi.

Published in Dawn December 11th, 2016

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