Saif Ullah Khan
Impressive all-round performance against Balochistan at UBL Sports Complex handed Northern their second four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy win, which helped them climb to third spot on the points table.
On the last day of the ninth round fixture, Northern chased down the 192-run target in 32.2 overs, scoring at an impressive run rate of 5.94.
Ali Sarfaraz and Faizan Riaz remained unbeaten on 95 and 52, and cracked an undefeated 118-run partnership after openers Umar Amin and Zeeshan Malik fell for one and 37.
Ali cracked 15 fours and a six in his blistering knock, which lasted 87 balls. Faizan smashed four fours and four sixes in the 43 balls he faced.
Earlier in the day, Balochistan added 44 runs to their overnight score of 189 for eight.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Bismillah Khan, after resuming his innings on 32, marched on to his first-class career’s 20th half-century and scored 69 off 101 balls with six fours and two sixes.
Northern captain Nauman Ali bagged his fifth five-wicket haul of the tournament – the most for any bowler this season. The left-arm orthodox returned five for 75.
He was supported by Waqas Ahmed, who claimed four wickets at the expense of 72 runs.
After gaining 22 points from the match, Northern have jumped to the third spot on the table with 106 points.
Balochistan, at the bottom of the points table, are out of the race for the final.
Northern take on second-ranked Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at UBL Sports Complex in Karachi in the final round, which begins on 2 December.
Balochistan play Sindh, ranked fifth and also out of the contention for final, at the National Stadium.
Scores in brief:
Balochistan 300 all-out, 90.2 (Imran Butt 124, Umar Gul 51, Imran Farhat 32; Sadaf Hussain 4-75, Nauman Ali 3-80) and 233 all-out, 79.5 overs (Bismillah Khan 69, Imran Farhat 55, Akbar-ur-Rehman 41; Nauman Ali 5-75, Waqas Ahmed 4-72)
Northern 342 all-out, 86.2 overs (Jamal Anwar 93, Sarmad Bhatti 86, Umar Amin 69; Taj Wali 6-89, Umar Gul 2-61) and 192-2, 32.2 overs (Ali Sarfraz 95 not out, Faizan Riaz 52 not out, Zeeshan Malik 37)