HBL holds advantage after low-scoring day
Kamran Sajid resisted the Habib Bank Limited bowlers, led by legspinner Danish Kaneria, for most of the day, but received little support from the rest of the batsmen, as Pakistan International Airlines folded for 228 to hand the advantage to HBL in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Division One final at the National Stadium in Karachi. The match was a day-night affair, the first time lights and coloured balls were used in first-class cricket in Pakistan.
Sajid batted for almost six hours, dropping anchor after three early wickets had fallen to leave PIA in some trouble at 53 for 3. For a time, he found an enterprising partner in former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik, who has not played for the national side since August and was left out of Pakistan's World Cup squad. Malik showed his intent early with two fours through the cover region in the same over from seamer Kamran Hussain. The pair took PIA past the three-figure mark, scoring at a healthy 3.66 runs an over, and were largely untroubled until seamer Fahad Masood produced a moment of magic: the ball swung in the air before rushing through Malik's defence to knock back the middle stump and wrest the initiative back for HBL.
Malik's departure heralded the loss of three more wickets in relatively quick succession to leave PIA stumbling at 152 for 7. When No.9 Anwar Ali joined Sajid, who had stood firm at the other end to reach his half-century, it looked like PIA would fail to get 200, but Anwar showed he was up for a scrap. While he stuck around at one end, Sajid upped the tempo at the other, dancing down the wicket to Kaneria when he tossed the ball up and rocking back and cutting him when he dropped it short.
Kaneria, who was also left out of Pakistan's list of World Cup probables under typically cloudy circumstances, would ultimately have the last laugh though, getting Anwar to edge one that was caught at slip after the wicketkeeper, Hasan Raza, dropped it, although replays suggested the ball may have bounced first. Two overs later, Kaneria got Sajid to edge one back onto his stumps, 10 short of what would have been a hard-earned, and much deserved, hundred.
HBL's innings got off to a rocky start as well, with Anwar dismissing Hussain for 4 with the score on 10, but Shah Masood and Imran Farhat batted out the remaining 3.4 overs to set up what could be a pivotal day.
Re: HBL holds advantage after low-scoring day