Saif Ullah Khan
The table-toppers, Central Punjab, continued to pile up runs on the second day of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy fixture against Southern Punjab to consolidate their berth in the final of the four-day first class tournament.
Four of Central Punjab's batsmen scored centuries to narrate the hard labour for South Punjab's bowlers and fielders.
Central Punjab resumed their innings on the second day, at the State Bank stadium, from 339 for four and overnight batsman Kamran Akmal marched on to his 62nd first-class half century. The 245-match veteran couldn't last long and fell prey to Zia-ul-Haq on 68 with nine fours. At the lunch break, Central Punjab had accumulated 452 runs without further damage.
The second session saw another ton for Central Punjab when Usman Salahuddin raised the bat for his 23rd first-class century. Central Punjab, in 110 overs, scored 421 runs for the loss of five wickets to bag five batting points while the bowling side, Southern Punjab, could only siphon a solitary bowling point.
The 29-year old right hander, Usman Salahuddin was bowled by Salman Ali Agha on 114 in the 133rd over of the innings, however Mohammad Saad carried the marathon innings forward to reach his personal three-figure milestone in the third session of the day. Zafar Gohar and Bilal Asif couldn't cash in on the run flow and perished to Salman Agha on 19 and 16 respectively.
Central Punjab, at last, declared their innings after 170 overs on 597/9 which is the highest innings tally of the season. Mohammad Saad stood unbeaten with 105 runs.
Salman Ali Agha topped the bowling chart with three while Rahat Ali, Zia-ul-Haq and Zulfiqar Babar bagged two wickets each.
After the tiring day, in the field, Southern Punjab got an early blow in the form of prolific Sami Aslam who was picked up by Ehsan Adil for only three.
Umar Siddiq (10) and Zeeshan Ashraf (7) saw off the day to drag Southern Punjab to 23/1 in nine overs. The Adnan Akmal-led outfit are still trailing by 574 runs.
All-rounder Amad Butt scored a century to put Balochistan in a strong position against Sindh on day two of the four-day tenth round first class Quaid-a-Azam Trophy match at the National Stadium on Tuesday.
Butt joined Imran Farhat (137) and Akbar-ur-Rehman (122) as the third centurion in the Balochistan's innings which closed at 471 for nine declared in 150.2 overs.
Sindh responded with 71 for one in 27 overs when stumps were called for the day with Khurram Manzoor batting on 40 and Saud Shakeel on 30 as the two overcame the early loss of opener, Omair Bin Yousuf (one) to put on an undefeated 64 runs.
Earlier Balochistan resuming on 271 for two lost their overnight centurions, Farhat and Akbar in quick succession. At 271, Farhat fell to the bowling of Mir Hamza while Akbar was picked up by Sohail Khan at the total of 276 runs.
Akbar’s 122 lasted for 270 balls with 14 fours while left-hander, Farhat’s 137 came from 263 balls laced with 18 fours.
Hamza also picked up Bismillah Khan for 10 to give his side some hope of bowling out Balochistan cheaply.
But Amad Butt who played a free flowing knock teamed up with Asif Zakir (53 off 105 balls) for a sixth-wicket partnership of 107 runs in quick time as he hit a total of 12 fours and one six in his 156 ball innings.
Butt had reached his century from 144 balls with 12 fours and one six.
Left arm pacer, Mir Hamza playing after a break due to an injury was the best bowler for Sindh finishing with four for 98 while Sohail took three for 75 runs.
Both the teams are playing the match for the fifth and sixth positions on the points table when the round matches end on Thursday as the top four teams, Central Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Northern Punjab and Southern Punjab are all in the run to play the final.
Northern strengthened their position against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on day-two of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first-class 10th round game being played at the UBL Sports Complex in Karachi on Tuesday.
After amassing 411 runs in their first innings, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were left reeling at 156 for six as Northern pace man Waqas Ahmed took five wickets to give his team the upper hand.
Resuming at the overnight score of 341 for five, Northern used the long handle effectively to reach the 400-run mark inside 110 overs which ensured the accumulation of full five batting points. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa collected two bowling points by taking eight wickets.
Northern declared shortly after reaching the 400-run mark, Sarmad Bhatti who resumed at 70 not out, posted the third century of his first-class career. The left-hander was dismissed for 109 runs; he hit 12 fours and two sixes in his 201-ball innings.
Sohail Tanvir fell for a 48-ball 26, Northern captain Nauman Ali declared the innings with Sohail’s dismissal in the 107th over of the innings.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa off-spinner Sajid Khan took four wickets for 121 runs.
The game was turned on its head as Waqas took five wickets in the post-tea session to give his side the initiative in the all-important tie, a win for Northern will guarantee them a place in the 27-31 December tournament final while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa need to draw the game to edge past Northern and secure a final spot along with Central Punjab.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were seemingly placed at a position of comfort at 114 for one when Ashfaq Ahmed was dismissed for 29, Ashfaq became Waqas’ first victim. The right-armer dismantled the middle-order as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were reduced to 136 for six, in a probing spell, Waqas also dismissed Fakhar Zaman (66 off 131 balls, 11 fours) Adil Amin (1), Zohaib Khan (6) and Israrullah (14).