Pentangular Cup, 2nd round, 1st day

Friday, February 22, 2008

Federal Areas 79 for 3 (Majeed 42*, Saeed 13*) trail Baluchistan 253 (Tariq 68, Aslam 51*, Tanvir 5-66, Arafat 4-83) by 174 runs

Sohail Tanvir justified the Federal Areas' stand-in captain Naved Ashraf's decision to field first by taking five wickets to help bowl out Baluchistan for 253 at the National Stadium in Karachi. But Federal Areas conceded a bit of the advantage when they lost two quick wickets before the close of play to end the first day at 79 for 3.

The Baluchistan openers Shoiab Khan and Usman Tariq walked out to bat in the three-hour first session and the duo added 41 runs before Shoiab was trapped by seamer Yasir Arafat for 25. Tanvir then took centre stage in a marathon 15-over opening spell, taking three wickets in succession to send Baluchistan crashing from 78 for 1 to 92 for 4. But Tariq scored a defiant half-century and added 73 runs for the fifth wicket with Nasim Khan (31) to stem the rot. But Baluchistan once again faltered, losing five wickets for the addition of 35 runs, with Tanvir claiming the vital wicket of Tariq for 68. Imranullah Aslam, the No. 10 batsman, then frustrated Federal Areas by striking an unbeaten 46-ball 51 which included nine fours, and adding 53 runs for the last wicket with Azharullah (20). Baluchistan's innings came to a close when Azharullah was trapped by Saeed Anjwal, the only spinner to find any success on the first day.

Federal Areas were in trouble just as they began their response when Kamran Hussain had Afaq Raheem caught behind for 2. Raheel Majeed and Fayaaz Ahmed pushed the score past fifty before Azharullah struck back with a double-strike: Ahmed was caught behind while Bazid Khan fell without scoring. But Majeed, who remained unbeaten on 42, and Usman Saeed, who struck a couple of fours on his way to 13, ensured there was no further damage.

Punjab 295 for 7 (Butt 72, Misbah 53) v North West Frontier Province

Punjab's star-studded batting line-up threatened to launch a run-fest, but none of their batsman, including Salman Butt, who top-scored with 72, were able to capitalise on their starts as they scored 295 for 7 on the first day against NWFP at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Earlier NWFP found immediate success after choosing to bowl when Fazl-e-Akbar has Mohammad Hafeez caught behind by Zulfiqur Jan. But Butt turned things around by displaying the same sort of form that saw him make 290 against Federal Areas in the first round of the Pentangular Cup as he reached his half-century in a 60-run second-wicket stand with Nasir Jamshed (16). Akbar returned to remove Jamshed, but that brought Misbah-ul-Haq to the crease. But Misbah and Butt did not spend too much time together when the latter was run-out after a misunderstanding as Punjab stuttered to 112 for 3.

Misbah then set about consolidating the innings as he scored 53 runs of 149 balls and adding 76 runs for the fourth wicket with Shoaib Malik (41). But once the duo were dismissed by Samiullah Khan and Shakell-ur-Rehman respectively, Kamran Akmal breezed his way to a 74-ball 40, striking six fours and a six to add some quick runs. Waqas Ahmed (12*) and Junaid Zia (10*) were then involved in an unbroken 25-run stand for the eighth wicket before stumps were drawn.

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