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September 21, 2019

Sindh take on KP as Q Trophy second round begins today


September 21, 2019

KARACHI: Sindh, who trail at the fourth place on the points table after the first round, will be looking to put in their best when they face leaders Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in their second round fixture of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (first-class) here at the UBL Sports Complex on Saturday (today).

Sindh will be captained by Sarfraz Ahmed’s deputy Asad Shafiq while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be led by Charsadda-born right-handed batsman Sahibzada Farhan in the absence of Mohammad Rizwan who will be replaced by Rehan Afridi behind the wickets.

The leading players are in Pakistan’s camp preparing for the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka who are set to tour Pakistan from September 25.

Asad said that the pitch of the UBL Sports Complex would help fast bowlers. “Yesterday, we saw the pitch. There was some grass on it. I hope it will help the fast bowlers,” Asad told a pre-match press conference here at the National Stadium on Friday.

He said that the 110 overs of the first innings would be crucial. “Now after the alteration in points system there are no points for the first innings lead. It is in our mind that the 110 overs of the first innings have points and we will try to get maximum points in that crucial phase,” the right-handed Test batsman said.

Responding to a question, Asad said that the pitches should support both bowlers and batsmen. KP will also miss right-handed batsman Iftikhar Ahmed and left-arm pacer Usman Shinwari due to national duty.

But the stand-in skipper Sahibzada Farhan says that their bench is strong. “Although we will be missing three key players, still we have a strong bench. We have bowlers like Junaid Khan and Imran Khan Senior who could deliver for the side,” Farhan said.

Meanwhile, first-class cricket will return to Quetta after a gap of 11 years when Balochistan take on Southern Punjab in a much-anticipated match which will start at 10am. This will be the first of the four first-class matches the picturesque Bugti Stadium will stage this season.

The event trophy landed in Quetta on Thursday to provide fans an up-close and personal experience with the prestigious silverware, the PCB said. After the first round, Balochistan have seven points. Southern Punjab, led by Shan Masood, have 11 Points.

In the absence of Imam-ul-Haq, who scored a 352-ball 152 in his side’s only innings in the first match, and Haris Sohail, Balochistan will be captained by Imran Farhat, who led Habib Bank Limited (HBL) to the title last season while also finishing as the second highest run-getter with 744 runs in 11 matches.

After a fabulous start to 2019-20 season, Southern Punjab will hope Sami Aslam carries his batting form to Quetta. He scored 243 not out and 50 not out in a Punjab Derby contest at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium.

Azhar Ali will lead Central Punjab, who have 11 points, in their home match against Umar Amin-led Northern. Central Punjab will call up players from their Second XI and reserve pool as captain Babar Azam, vice-captain Ahmed Shehzad, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf and Umar Akmal are attending the camp in Lahore.

Northern, placed fifth with eight points, will also analyse the pool of players to fill in the vacuum in their bowling department, created by the absence of Shadab Khan and captain Imad Wasim.

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