Cricket NEWS

Fawad rescues Sindh, Northern and KPK in control after third day of QeA Trophy 2019/20 Round nine

Fawad Alam scored a double century to rescue his team from a precarious position against Southern Punjab, whereas Northern and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are in control heading into the final day of their fixtures


Sindh vs Southern Punjab:

Fawad Alam scored a double hundred and captain, Sarfaraz Ahmed a century as Sindh grinded down Southern Punjab on day-three of the four-day day first-class ninth-round Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match at the National Stadium on Wednesday.

Fawad stroked his way to the fourth double century of his career making (211 from 309 balls) while Sarfaraz (131 from 174 balls) scored his first hundred in domestic cricket in five-years to put together a big partnership of 278 runs for the fifth wicket.

Their partnership allowed Sindh to end on 486 in response to Southern’s 517 for 9 declared.

Fawad achieved another personal milestone when he also crossed 12,000 first-class runs.

Their stand effectively ended any hopes that the Southern team harboured of forcing a result in the match and trying to grab second spot in the points table when Sindh resumed on 142 for three on the third morning.

The two forged their alliance and took Sindh to 253 for four at lunch after overnight batsman, Saad Ali fell early adding just four runs to his overnight score as he was caught for 60 from 106 balls on the bowling of Bilawal Bhatti who finished with four for 82.

But Saad’s overnight partner, Fawad who resumed on 60 showed no intentions of giving up his wicket and he found an able partner in his captain as their century partnership came from just 138 balls in 107 minutes.

Prolific Fawad completed his third century of the season after lunch.

Sarfaraz who last scored a century in domestic first-class cricket for PIA against ZTBL way back in 2014 was more aggressive reaching his hundred from 119 balls with 12 fours.

As the two batted together the Southern bowlers wilted on an unresponsive pitch and even the second new ball didn’t produce the desired results for pacers, Bilawal, Zia-ul-Haq and Umaid Asif.

Eventually it was the tall left-arm spinner, Muhammad Irfan who broke through with Sarfaraz top edging a shot back to the bowler. Sarfaraz’s innings of 131 spanned 174 balls and included 13 fours.

Fawad, however, found Anwar Ali (28) to be a good partner and carried on reaching his double hundred by hitting off-spinner, Agha Salman to deep mid-wicket for a four to reach his personal milestone.

He was finally caught at deep mid-on trying to hit the same shot against Irfan trying to add to his 25 fours.

Bilawal than trapped Hassan Khan leg before for nine and also picked up Anwar caught at first slip and Waleed Ahmed to hasten an end to the Sindh innings while last man Shahnawaz Dhani was run out.

Northern vs Balochistan:

Bowlers dominated day three of the ninth round four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy fixture between Balochistan and Northern at the UBL stadium as Balochistan ended the day on 189 for eight in their second innings.

Thirteen wickets fell on Wednesday as Northern, continuing their first innings, were skittled out for 342 after adding only 45 runs to their overnight score before Nauman Ali and Waqas Ahmed shared Balochistan’s seven out of eight wickets. 

In the first session of the day, Balochistan's paceman Taj Wali ripped through the Northern's batting line-up to claim his 15th five-wicket haul in first class cricket.

The left-arm medium-fast took three more wickets on day three to return six wickets for 89 runs in 20.2 overs. Sarmad Bhatti and Jamal Anwar added three and 32 runs, respectively, to their overnight scores.

Sarmad made 86 off 176, hitting nine fours and a six, while Jamal cracked 11 fours in his 93 from 120 balls.

With a deficit of 42 runs, Balochistan's openers failed to provide the desired beginning as both openers Imran Butt (28) and Azeem Ghumman (eight) were back in the dressing room by Lunch. Akbar-ur-Rehman and skipper Imran Farhat consolidated the innings to escort Balochistan to 113 at Tea.

The pair stitched an 84-run partnership for the third wicket with Akbar scoring a 114-ball 41 and Imran recording his 70th first-class half-century with a 114-ball 55.

In the final session of the day, Northern's bowlers roared back, picking up quick wickets to squeeze Balochistan. Wicketkeeper-batsman Bismillah Khan put up resistance with 32 not out from 41 balls (4x4s).

Balochistan were 147 runs ahead at the close of play and will be relying on Bismillah – who is joined by Mohammad Asghar (three) – to help them post a defendable target.

Central Punjab vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa:

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa neared their second consecutive win of the tournament as they had Central Punjab reeling at 13 for four in the chase of 325 on day three of the four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy ninth round fixture at NBP Stadium, Karachi.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had entered the ongoing contest at the back of a comprehensive win over Balochistan – by a margin of an innings and 12 runs – and the second-ranked side are on the verge of handing Central Punjab, the table-toppers, their first defeat of the season. 

Central Punjab had lost four quick wickets – in the latter part of the evening session – due to Usman Shinwari’s fiery spell. 

The left-arm pacer bowled Salman Butt (two), night-watchman Aizaz Cheema (4) and Ahmed Shehzad (0), who registered a pair, to take three wickets for two runs in 2.2 overs before stumps were drawn.

Earlier in the session, Khyber Pakthunkhwa had declared their innings after scoring 197 runs for the loss of seven wickets after making the most of the 127-run lead they had garnered by skittling out Central Punjab for 228 in the morning session.

Central Punjab resumed their innings on 154 for five with experienced Kamran Akmal and Rizwan at the crease.

Both batsmen failed to make any further contributions as Kamran (39) added only one run to his overnight score, while Rizwan (nine) couldn’t add another run to his tally.

Usman Qadir’s unbeaten 58-ball 32 – including two fours and a six – was the only notable performance that a Central Punjab player made with the bat.

Khyber Pakthunkhwa’s Sajid took three wickets for 55 runs. Khalid Usman added another scalp to his wickets’ column to return four for 67.

Khyber Pakthunkhwa’s second innings was driven by Israrullah (40), Sahibzada Farhan (36) and Zohaib Khan (31 not out). 

Israrullah and Farhan cracked five fours each, while Zohaib’s smashed two fours in the 40 balls he faced.

Zohaib was joined by Khalid (21 off 22) when Khyber Pakhtunkhwa declared the innings.

Central Punjab’s Zafar Gohar once again starred with the ball as the left-arm orthodox picked up his second four-fer in the match – this one at the expense of 82 runs.

The onus of saving the match and ensuring that Central Punjab maintains impeccable record lies on Mohammad Saad and Umar Akmal who resume their innings on one and 0 respectively on Thursday, the final of the match.

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