Cricket

Habib Bank lift Quaid-e-Azam Trophy after tense draw


Habib Bank won their first Quaid-e-Azam trophy since 2010-11 beating defending champions SNGPL in the final. The game ended in a draw, but HBL were awarded the trophy courtesy their first-innings lead. The match looked set for a tight finish, with HBL requiring 83 runs to win with four wickets in hand, but bad light called an end to the proceedings and Misbah-ul-Haq‘s SNGPL were forced to relinquish their domestic crown.

SNGPL have won the QeA trophy three of the last four years, but were bowled out for 304 in the first innings. Misbah himself was the leading run-scorer, accumulating 91, while four wickets for Abdur Rehman and three for Khurram Shehzad reined SNGPL in. In response, HBl amassed 472, thanks to centuries from Umar Akmal and Abid Ali, who top-scored with 134.

SNGPL’s response in the second innings was more forceful, with every batsman reaching double figures. Five of the top six scored at least 40, with Imran Butt’s 95 at the top of the order the highest score as SNGPL declared at 430 for 7. That set HBL 263 for victory, or, more realistically, just under 90 overs to bat out a draw that guaranteed them the title.

The early loss of Abid Ali didn’t help, with Bilawal Bhatti removing three of the top five. But Umar Akmal came good again with 52, and SNGPL failed to take the cluster of wickets they needed to effect a collapse. As the light worsened, hopes of Misbah leading his side to yet another win faded. It was, instead, another former player in Imran Farhat who led his side to the domestic crown, while Misbah, unimpressed with umpiring decisions, gave the trophy ceremony a miss.



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