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September 17, 2019

Balochistan-Sindh game heads towards draw, KP dominate Northern


September 17, 2019

KARACHI: Imam-ul-Haq struck his fifth first-class century as Balochistan batted slow to reach 191-3 in their first innings on the penultimate day of the four-day Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match against Sindh here at UBL Sports Complex on Monday.

At stumps, Imam was batting on 111 but Balochistan were still 282 runs behind Sindh’s first innings score of 473-5 declared. In 90 overs on Monday, the visitors added only 175 for the loss of three wickets.

The left-handed Pakistan opener, who had resumed from overnight score of nine, faced 269 balls, banging 13 fours. Imam added 71 for the third wicket with skipper Haris Sohail who fell for 24. Azeem Ghumman made 21. For Sindh, Kashif Bhatti took 2-61.

Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were in control against Northern at Abbottabad Cricket Stadium. Spearheaded by spinner Zohaib Khan and Test paceman Junaid Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bowlers sent Northern packing for 262 in 90.3 overs in the first innings. With a massive 264-run lead, Mohammad Rizwan asked Imad Wasim-led Northern to follow on.

Northern were 105-2 in their second innings at close. They need 159 more runs to make KP bat again. Umar Amin (32*) and Pakistan Under-19 captain Rohail Nazir (21*) were at the crease at stumps.

Openers Haider Ali (27) and Afaq Raheem (21) were the batsmen that lost their wickets. Earlier, Northern batsmen wilted under pressure of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s mammoth first innings score of 526-9 declared.

None of the batsmen, barring debutant Haider Ali (99) and Imad were successful in making an impression. Haider, who was 56 not out overnight, was unlucky to miss a century on his first-class debut by just one run. The 18-year-old right-handed opener faced 208 balls and hit 11 fours and two sixes in his 297-minute stay at the wicket. Imad scored 33 down the order. Northern bagged only two bonus points for crossing the 250-run mark in their first innings. KP earned three bonus points for bowling out Northern.

KP bowlers not only kept the run-rate in check but also claimed wickets at regular intervals. Zohaib (3-21) and Junaid Khan (3-40) bowled well. Leggie Irfan Khan took two wickets. Central Punjab were 348-5 in reply to Southern Punjab’s huge first-innings total of 467 when stumps were drawn at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.

Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad celebrated their call-up in the 20-man provisional Pakistan squad for this month’s series against Sri Lanka by hitting impressive fifties. Umar hit a blistering 89 with ten fours and two sixes. Ahmed fell after scoring 63 from 168 balls with eight fours.

Azhar Ali made 73 off 157 balls with ten fours. He had started the day at 20 and together with Ahmed, put on 130 for the first wicket which came to an end in the afternoon session when the former captain nicked Aamer Yamin’s wide delivery to wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal. Later Shehzad lobbed Rahat Ali’s good length delivery on his body to Sami Aslam who guarded the mid-wicket region. Rahat also dismissed Central Punjab captain Babar Azam. The other end, however, was held firmly by Umar, who batted one-down. The 29-year-old fell 11 runs short of what would have been a fascinating century when he edged Rahat (three for 34) to Adnan.

The hard-hitting batsman was quick to pounce on anything loose that slow left-arm orthodox Mohammad Irfan and leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood bowled, breathing life in the crowd.

Aamer, who had brought a threatening opening-stand to an end, struck again, removing Kamran Akmal (33). This proved to be the final wicket of the day.

Central Punjab, trailing by 119 runs, managed 348-5 in 108 overs. To equal Southern Punjab’s five batting bonus points they are required to cross the 500-run mark in the next two overs.

By virtue of dismissing all Southern Punjab batsmen in the first innings, Central Punjab have three bonus points. If they cross the 350-run mark inside 110 overs, they will have seven bonus points. Southern Punjab, after crossing the 400-run mark and managing five wickets, have six points thus far.

Meanwhile, in the QT non-first class game at the KRL Stadium, Rawalpindi, the game between KP and Northern ended in a draw. After claiming a 36 runs lead Northern ended the day at 156-5 after starting at 15-2. Hasan Raza top-scored with 75, while Shehzad Azam scored 48. The two batsmen added 121 runs for the third wicket.

Northern posted 282-8 in their first innings. In response KP had posted 246 all out.

Left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar claimed ten wickets in the match between Central Punjab and Southern Punjab, which ended in an exciting draw at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad.

The former Test spinner followed up his 5-103 with 5-94 to spin Central Punjab out for 177 in their second innings. This set Southern Punjab, which had conceded an 80-run first innings lead, a target of 258 runs. However, Southern Punjab finished at 146-6 after plummeting to 112-6. Naved Yasin scored 50 while Zeeshan Ashraf (34) and Zia-ul-Haq (28*) were the other prominent batsmen for Southern.

For Central Punjab, Aizaz Cheema took 3-26 while Ahmed Safi Abdullah bagged 2-49 to end with a nine-wicket haul.

At NBP Sports Complex here, Balochistan, after conceding a 52-run first innings lead, declared their second innings at 227-9 with Gulraiz Sadaf scoring 73 not out and Taimur Ali making 56. Sindh, set a 175-victory target, were 25-2 when the game ended.