Delaying the declaration
Sui Northern may have bossed the game, but an experienced captain like Mohammad Hafeez will regret not declaring earlier for so long. Batting first, they out on 511 in 150.1 overs against Habib Bank before being dismissed. Azhar Ali and Khurram Shehzad scored centuries – 118 and 133 respectively as they ground HBL’s bowlers down. Amad Butt did come away with a six-wicket haul, but not before bowling 38 overs and conceding 106 runs.
In response, HBL were dismissed for 202 and asked to follow on. However, with bad light meaning several overs were lost, only 19 overs could be bowled in the second innings, with Ahmed Shehzad’s side at 67 for one when the match was called off. Given the extent of HBL’s dominance, they will be disappointed to kick off the Super Eight stage with a win.
The two-day game
Have you ever heard of a contest where 167 runs were enough to secure an innings victory? Well, here’s one. On a pitch that seemed to have laid a particularly potent curse on all who batted upon it, WAPDA beat Khan Research Laboratories by an innings and seven runs in a game that lasted merely 120 overs. KRL were skittled out for 95 in their first innings, 40 of them coming from one man, Junaid Ali. WAPDA’s Waqas Maqsood registered the best figures of the tournament, taking nine wickets for 32.
WAPDA appeared to have let KRL back into the contest with a fairly ordinary batting display of their own, getting dismissed for 167. More than half of those runs – 86 – came off the bat of No. 8 Khalid Usman as they opened up a 72-run lead. As it turned out, KRL’s second innings was even more listless than the first as they meekly surrendered for 65. Mohammad Asif took six wickets as WAPDA wrapped up a comfortable win.
The Lahore Derby
Lahore Whites and Lahore Blues played in the final of the recently concluded National T20 Cup, with the Blues coming out on top. They played each other again in the QeA’s Super 8 round, with the same outcome, the Blues sealing a 9-wicket win.
They began sharply, bowling out Lahore Whites for 141, Aizaz Cheema and Bilawal Iqbal sharing 8 wickets between them. Their batsmen followed that up with a solid 281, with opener Tayyab Tahir and captain Saad Nasim scoring 83 runs each. Having opened up a 140 run lead, they proceed to clean up the Whites for 207, Cheema’s 7 wickets securing him an 11-wicket haul for the match. That left the Blues with the straightforward task of chasing 68 runs for a win, which they did in under 10 overs for the loss of just one wicket.
Fawad Alam stormed back to form, scoring 124 for Sui Southern. It was, albeit, an innings in vain as a second-innings collapse saw them slump to 149 runs.
United Bank captained by Younis Khan, scored 252 in the first innings, with Shan Masood top scoring with 75. Saad Ali, who has been far and away the highest scorer in the tournament, also scored 52, while Ahmed Jamal’s 6 for 52 ensured UBL weren’t allowed to bat SSGC out of the game.
While Alam’s century secured his side a 27-run lead, the innings of the round belonged to Umar Akmal, who once again demonstrated his seemingly boundless ability with the bat – if he is motivated enough. He smashed 148 in 166 deliveries, effectively batting SSGC out of the game as they declared at 328, setting SSGC a target of 302. SSGC never looked like escaping with a draw, let alone clinching victory, with no batsman scoring more than 27 (Alam managed 26) as they were bundled out for 152.