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September 24, 2019

Spinners help Central Punjab demolish Northern


September 24, 2019

KARACHI: Central Punjab demolished Northern by an innings and 100 runs on the third day of their second round four-day Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (first-class) fixture at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad.

After being forced to follow on, Northern’s batting line once again flopped and they were skittled out for 219 in 66.3 overs. Hammad Azam (38) and Haider Ali (33) were the main contributors.

Test off-spinner Bilal Asif was the main tormentor as he picked 4-57, for a match haul of 6-70. Left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar claimed 3-87, for a match-tally of 7-123. Central Punjab had scored 433 all out in their first innings. In response, Northern had managed only 114.

Central Punjab bagged 24 points: five batting, three bowling, and 16 for an outright win. Northern took only three points. Central Punjab will travel to Quetta to play Balochistan in their third round outing beginning from September 28.

Northern host Sindh at the KRL Stadium in Rawalpindi in the same dates. Here at UBL Sports Complex, a superb century by Ashfaq Ahmed, his second in as many matches, took Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to 296-6 in their first innings in response to Sindh’s huge first innings total of 476-9 declared before the third day’s play had to be called off because of rain.

Resuming his innings on 28, with his team on 97-2, the 32-year-old Ashfaq scored 113 off 257 balls, featuring 15 fours. His overnight partner, Adil Amin, who fell for 70 from 127 balls, added only seven runs. They scored 111 runs for the third wicket.

Ashfaq, however, held the other end for KP and put on 97 for the fifth-wicket partnership with all-rounder Zohaib Khan, who was not out on 70 after facing 149 balls when the bails were drawn.

With 21 runs from 41 balls, Umar Khan was the other unbeaten batsman. For Sindh, left-arm spinner Kashif Bhatti took 3-99. Right-arm medium pacer Tabish Khan, who had taken one wicket on Sunday, added another wicket to his tally, finishing the day with 2-65.

At Bugti Stadium, Quetta, Southern Punjab were struggling to avoid defeat at the hands of Balochistan. After being forced to follow on, the visitors were tottering at 132-3 in 33 overs in their second innings with Umar Siddiq and first innings centurion Imran Rafiq batting on 26 and 16, respectively, when the bails were drawn.

Resuming at 161-3, Southern Punjab were bowled out for 308 in 94.4 overs in their first innings in response to Balochistan’s 500-9 declared. Shan Masood-led Southern Punjab need 60 more runs to make the home team bat again. After a solid 84-run opening stand between Shan (45) and Sami Aslam (37), Southern Punjab lost three wickets in quick succession which reduced them to 97-3. Test leg-spinner Yasir Shah dismissed both the openers to have figures of 2-46. Earlier, Imran Rafiq, who was 56 not out on Sunday, completed his third century in first-class cricket to help Southern Punjab cross the 300-run mark in the first innings. The left-handed batsman remained not out on 110, facing 239 deliveries and hitting 19 fours and a six. He stayed at the wicket for 345 minutes. Umar Siddiq failed to add to his overnight score of 67. Imran shared a 92-run stand for the seventh wicket with Bilawal Bhatti, who cracked 11 fours in his 57.

Balochistan’s Mohammad Asghar, a slow left-arm spinner, got 3-41. Umar Gul, Taj Wali and Yasir took two wickets each.

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