SNGPL on verge of title after Samiullah’s five-for


KARACHI: SNGPL were all but guaranteed their third Quaid-e-Azam trophy title in four years after a remarkable second-innings collapse from WAPDA on the fourth day in Karachi. Chasing 257, WAPDA ended the day barely afloat at 108 for 7. Left-arm fast bowler Samiullah Khan claimed his 25th first-class five-for, finishing with 5 for 38.

The day began with Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammad Rizwan resuming their heroics from the previous day, stretching their partnership to 193 before Rizwan fell for 91. Iftikhar went on to make 106, pushing SNGPL to 268 and setting WAPDA 257 for victory. It was a remarkable recovery from SNGPL, given they had been reduced to 21 for 4.

WAPDA’s chase began disastrously, with SNGPL’s opening bowler Samiullah taking three wickets in his first three overs, removing captain Salman Butt, Adnan Raees and the WAPDA’s highest run-scorer this season, Mohammad Saad. With the chase less than five overs old, the game looked to have been done.

Opener Zahid Mansoor, who had somehow managed to survive the carnage around him, formed a fourth-wicket partnership of 74 runs with Aamer Sajjad as they slowly got their side back into the game. They took WAPDA to 86 for 3, but then disaster struck again.

The next 19 balls saw the contest take a final, decisive turn, with four wickets falling without a run added to WAPDA’s total. Mansoor and Sajjad both departed for 38, while Yasir Shah bowled Kamran Akmal for a duck.

Samiullah completed his five-for by knocking over Mohammad Asif’s stumps to leave a dazed WAPDA staring at certain defeat at 86 for 7.

Thereon, it was a question of whether SNGPL would be able to seal the title on the fourth day, with the light fading fast. Nos. 8 and 9 Khushdil Shah and Khalid Usman held firm, pushing the score past 100 before the umpires called stumps.