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February 10, 2019

Abu Bakar shines as Faisalabad promoted to first-class cricket

Sports

February 10, 2019

KARACHI: Abu Bakar Khan blasted a solid century to enable Misbah-ul-Haq-led Faisalabad to get promoted to first-class cricket when they defeated Karachi Blues on the basis of first innings lead in the final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Grade-II 2018-19 which ended in a draw at Iqbal Stadium Faisalabad on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Mianwali-born first-class cricketer Abu Bakar hammered 113 to shepherd Faisalabad to 338 all out after resuming their first innings at 52-4 in response to Karachi Blues’ 227 on the fourth and final day.

Abu Bakar, who was batting on 31 at stumps on Friday, hammered 19 fours in his 174-ball vital knock to help his side surpass Karachi Blues’ first innings total in the game whose major part was hit by the inclement weather.

After Karachi Blues blew the top order of Faisalabad within no time on Friday, Abu Bakar showed character with the willow and was amply backed by Atiq-ur-Rehman (67), Waqas Maqsood (55) and Ali Shan (51) with solid half centuries to do the job for former Pakistan captain Misbah who desperately wanted his region in the first-class cricket.

Abu Bakar added 182 runs for the fifth wicket partnership with Atiq which paved the way for securing the much-needed lead.

Atiq hit nine fours and one six in his 132-ball effort. Waqas, a left-arm pacer having recently represented Pakistan in T20 internationals, smashed six fours and two sixes in his superb 45-ball fifty. Ali hit seven fours in his 67-ball feat.

Left-arm spinner Mohammad Asghar was the pick of the bowlers with 3-86 in 12.3 overs. Left-arm pacer Ghulam Mudassir (2-59) and off-spinner Ashiq Ali (2-67) took two wickets each after rookie Hasan Mohsin had got two wickets on the penultimate day with his medium pace bowling.

After conceding a 111-run lead, Karachi Blues reached 28-4 in their second innings by the end of the game.

Left-hander Saud Shakeel fell for 16 after hitting three fours from 12 balls. Abu Bakar also did well with the ball, claiming 2-5 in 4.5 overs with his off-spin.

Ghaffar Kazmi and Qaiser Waheed supervised the match. Bilal Khilji served as match referee.

With the outcome, Faisalabad will now feature in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (first-class) next season which is expected to be conducted in the most competitive way. Only eight teams will be part of the premier cricket event next season as per the proposed domestic structure which is highly likely to be implemented.

The winners Faisalabad were handed over the trophy and a purse of Rs500,000 with the runners-up Karachi Blues going away with Rs250,000. Similarly, Rs50,000 each was handed over to Abu Bakar (Man-of-the-Match), Abu Bakar (best batsman, 459 runs), Mohammad Asghar (best bowler, Karachi Blues, 33 wickets) and Raja Farhan (best stumper, AJK, 16 catches, 3 stumpings).