Beleaguered Wapda face huge task as HBL prepare for final day killArchive
KARACHI: Wapda braced themselves for an anxious last day in the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy National Cricket Championship final against Habib Bank Limited (HBL) after reaching 83-2 at the National Stadium here on Wednesday.
After HBL closed their second innings at 485-1 with Ahmed Shehzad becoming the third century-maker in the innings after Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq, Wapda began their quest for the 444-run target with a safety-first approach on either side of the dinner interval
Chasing their maiden title, Wapda need to bat out Thursday’s entire day to avert an outright defeat to lay hands on the prestigious trophy on the basis of the 42-run lead they earned on the first innings. But their task has been handicapped by injuries to Kamran Akmal and Khalid Usman after both were unable to take the field in HBL’s second innings.
Kamran — the season’s leading run-getter with 1,035 runs — is still troubled the back strain which the discarded Pakistan wicket-keeper/batsman suffered on Tuesday and as per the playing rules won’t bat until five wickets have fallen.
The equation for HBL is quite simple: they need to take the remaining eight wickets in 90 overs that are required to be bowled on, technically speaking, a sixth-day pitch since Monday was a rest day after two days of play.
Left-arm paceman Usman Khan Shinwari, coming on as first change from the University Road End, bagged the wickets of Adnan Raees (15) and Zahid Mansoor (1) in the space of three deliveries to put Wapda on the back foot. Skipper Salman Butt and Mohammad Saad survived 17.5 overs while seeing Abdur Rehman’s seven-over spell without further alarms.
Rehman, the HBL captain, will be a major threat for Wapda who will be depending heavily on Salman to dig them out of trouble. The left-hander, the top-scorer in the first innings with a sublime knock of 125, once again appeared untroubled as he struck six boundaries in a solid 38 from 106 balls during his 165-minute stay.
Saad, who had to share wicket-keeping duties with Zahid Mansoor in the forced absence of Kamran, didn’t show signs of fatigue by batting through the last 73 minutes of the evening while making 20 off 57 balls.
Earlier, HBL carried on from where they had left off on Tuesday night when Fakhar Zaman (157) and Imam-ul-Haq (105) resumed day four at 264-0. Fakhar departed after adding 13 more runs when his attempt to hit Zulfiqar Babar through midwicket backfired and a leading-edge landed in the lap of substitute Mansoor Amjad at deep mid-off.
The dismissal of Fakhar, who faced 278 balls for his 170 and hit 19 boundaries, ended a HBL record opening-wicket partnership of 303 in 315 minutes. But that didn’t bring any relief to the Wapda bowlers as Imam and Ahmed Shehzad then added 182 for the unbroken second-wicket stand in just 169 minutes.
Shehzad reminded the selectors of his talent once again by battling through fever and heavy cold to score his 11th first-class hundred. He reached 104 from 135 balls with the aid of five fours.
The declaration arrived the moment young Imam brought up a patient double century. The 20-year-old left-hander’s 364-ball knock, lasting 485 minutes, included 14 fours and one six.
HABIB BANK (1st innings) 236 (Rameez Aziz 90, Abdur Rehman 53, Fahim Ashraf 44; Mohammad Asif 4-29, Mohammad Irfan 3-34, Khalid Usman 2-40).
WAPDA (1st Innings) 278 (Salman Butt 125, Adnan Raees 50, Kamran Akmal 35; Abdur Rehman 3-66, Fahim Ashraf 2-58).
HABIB BANK (2nd Innings, overnight 264-0):
Imam-ul-Haq not out200
Fakhar Zaman c sub b Zulfiqar170
Ahmed Shehzad not out104
EXTRAS (B-9, NB-2)11
TOTAL (for one wkt decl, 122.5 overs)485
FALL OF WKT: 1-303.
BOWLING: Mohammad Asif 15-1-62-0; Waqas Maqsood 24-1-111-0 (1nb); Mohammad Irfan 18-2-67-0; Zulfiqar Babar 38-2-129-1; Zahid Mansoor 22.5-1-91-0 (1nb); Adnan Raees 2-0-7-0; Aamir Sajjad 2-0-5-0; Salman Butt 1-0-4-0.
WAPDA (2nd Innings):
Adnan Raees lbw b Usman15
Salman Butt not out38
Zahid Mansoor c Jamal b Usman1
Mohammad Saad not out20
EXTRAS (B-4, NB-3)9
TOTAL (for two wkts, 36 overs)83
FALL OF WKTS: 1-30, 2-36.
BOWLING (to-date): Fahim Ashraf 9-4-27-0 (2nb); Amad Butt 10-1-27-0 (2nb); Usman Khan Shinwari 6-1-12-2; Abdur Rehman 7-4-6-0; Rameez Aziz 2-1-6-0; Fakhar Zaman 2-2-0-0.
Published in Dawn December 15th, 2016