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Sports

Web Desk
November 30, 2019

Four sides in contention for Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final

Sports

Web Desk
Sat, Nov 30, 2019
Photo: Twitter 

The revamped Quaid-e-Azam Trophy has come down to the 10th and final round of the four-day tournament that will determine which two sides will progress to the final at the National Stadium, read a press release from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

With a maximum of 24 points (five batting, three bowling and 16 win) available, the top four sides are separated by 18 points, whereas Sindh and Balochistan will fight out to avoid the wooden spoon at the National Stadium in the six-team competition.

Table-toppers Central Punjab will go into their last round match against fourth-placed Southern Punjab leading by 18 points. This match will be played at the State Bank Stadium in Karachi.

Second-placed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have a 13-point advantage over their third-placed opponents Northern. This match will be played at the UBL Sports Complex in Karachi.

This means the top four sides – Central Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Northern and Southern Punjab – will fight to not only collect maximum points but to also keep their rivals to the minimum to ensure they remain in the hunt for the winner’s purse of RS10 million along with the prestigious silverware.

Central Punjab v Southern Punjab

In the last four rounds, Central Punjab and Southern Punjab have both collected 42 points.

When the two sides had met in the tournament opener, the match had ended in a high-scoring draw with Southern Punjab scoring 467 and 107-1, and Central Punjab scoring 473 in their only outing.

As points are awarded after 110 overs of the first innings of each side, both the teams pocketed 11 points apiece from this Punjab derby.

Southern’s Sami Aslam had launched his first-class season with 243 and he is now the leading run-getter with 861 runs. Adnan Akmal, who scored 113 runs in the match, has 554 runs. In contrast, Central’s leading run-scorer to date is Kamran Akmal (750 runs), while Salman Butt is the tournament’s sixth most successful batsman with 662 runs.

Amongst the bowlers, Central’s Zafar Gohar is second on the overall list with 36 wickets, while his team-mate Bilal Asif is nine wickets behind with 27 wickets. For Southern, Mohammad Irfan has been the pick of the bowlers with 22 wickets, while Rahat Ali has 17 wickets.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa v Northern

The two sides were involved in an exciting first-round fixture when Northern escaped with a draw after being forced to follow-on. In reply to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s 526 for nine declared, which revolved around Mohammad Rizwan (176) and Ashfaq Ahmed (106), Northern were dismissed for 262 before finishing at 433 for six, thanks to centuries from Asif Ali (114) and Mohammad Nawaz (100).

In the last four rounds, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have earned 66 points while Northern have gained 62 points, including wins over Sindh and Balochistan by 145 runs and eight wickets, respectively.

Ashfaq Ahmed has been the mainstay of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, scoring 766 runs with four centuries and three half-centuries, while Sahibzada Farhan has contributed 548 runs with four half-centuries at an average of over 45.

Faizan Riaz leads Northern’s run-scoring chart with 634 runs with two centuries and two half-centuries, while Zeeshan is the 10th and last batsman in the 600-run club with 613 runs (one century and four half-centuries).

In the bowlers’ table, Nauman Ali leads the leaderboard with 46 wickets. He is followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s duo of Sajid Khan (19) and Junaid Khan (14).

Sindh v Balochistan

When the two sides met in their first-round match, Sindh scored 473 for five declared and Balochistan replied with 355 for nine. However, their campaigns failed to take off as they remain the only sides to not win a match in the tournament to date. In the process, Sindh lost twice, while Balochistan ended up on the losing side thrice.

However, Balochistan’s Imran Butt will be one of the players to watch-out for in this match. The 23-year-old Lahore batsman is sitting on 830 runs and currently occupying number two spot on the tournament’s batting list. On the opposite side is Fawad Alam, who is the fifth leading scorer in the tournament with 665 runs (three centuries and two half-centuries).

Amongst the bowlers, Balochistan’s Mohammad Asghar is fourth on the most successful bowlers list with 26 wickets, while Sindh’s Tabish Khan is one wicket behind with 25.

10th round fixtures:

Central Punjab v Southern Punjab – State Bank of Pakistan Stadium, Karachi

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa v Northern – UBL Sports Complex, Karachi

Sindh v Balochistan – National Stadium, Karachi