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December 3, 2019

Central Punjab in commanding position against Southern

Sports

December 3, 2019

KARACHI: Skipper Ahmed Shehzad and 20-year-old debutant Abdullah Shafiq blasted superb centuries to put leaders Central Punjab in driving seat against the fourth-placed Southern Punjab in their crucial last round outing of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (first-class) here at the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Ground on Monday.

Shehzad, stand-in skipper, blasted 100 and Sialkot-born Pakistan Under-19 right-handed batsman Abdullah Shafiq hammered 133 to guide Central Punjab to 339-4 in 91 overs on a perfect opening day of their four-day game.

After losing former Pakistan captain Salman Butt (7), the duo batted with great responsibility and shared 179 for the second wicket to put their team in a strong position. Rahat Ali broke the dangerous stand when he had Shehzad, who hammered 11 fours during his 149-ball stay at the crease. Pakistan’s discarded opener faced 194 balls in his 13th first-class hundred.

Rahat then removed Umar Akmal (0) to put some pressure on Central Punjab. But Usman Salahuddin (53*) was able to give Abdullah solid support as they added 85 for the fourth wicket to put Central Punjab again in a strong position.

Left-arm discarded Test spinner Zulfiqar Babar removed Abdullah, who hammered 16 fours and a six in his 209-ball knock. He stayed at the wicket for 280 minutes.

Kamran Akmal (30*) then joined Usman and both added 51 runs for the fifth-wicket unbroken stand. The Test stumper had smacked three fours from 44 balls while Usman had clobbered two fours and one six from 132 deliveries.

Left-arm Test pacer Rahat Ali got 2-65 in 19 overs. Babar had figures of 1-91 in 29 overs and Zia-ul-Haq 1-82 in 21.

Here at UBL Sports Complex, Northern were in a commanding position against second-placed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as they reached 341-5 by the close of the day’s play.

Zeeshan Malik, Ali Sarfraz, Faizan Riaz, Hammad Azam and Sarmad Bhatti hammered fifties to help their team maintain a healthy run-rate. Northern will be eyeing full five batting points at the completion of 110 overs of their innings on Tuesday (today).

A win for third-placed Northern will confirm their spot in the December 27-31 five-day final. KP, on the other hand, need only a draw to secure their berth in the final.

After being invited to bat, Northern had a poor start when they lost Umar Amin (3) cheaply. Zeeshan (61 off 94 balls, 11 fours) added 70 for the second wicket stand with Ali Sarfraz (50 off 84 balls, eight fours) to pave way for a decent total. Fakhar removed Zeeshan near lunch before off-spinner Sajid Khan sent Sarfraz back to leave Northern at 139-3.

Faizan then chipped in with a 70-ball 63, hitting seven fours and one six. The best partnership of the day was between Hammad (76 off 108 balls, seven fours and two sixes) and Sarmad (70 not out, 156 balls, seven fours, one six) as the duo added 146 runs for the fifth wicket to take their team past the 300-run mark.

Hammad was removed by Sajid shortly before close. Sajid was the most successful bowler, picking 3-100 in 32 overs.

Here at National Stadium, former Pakistan Test opener Imran Farhat and Akbar-ur-Rehman scored centuries to put Balochistan in a strong position against Sindh.

After losing Imran Butt (3) and Azeem Ghumman (3) early, Farhat (137*) and Akbar (121*) shared 263 for the third-wicket unbroken association to finish the day at 271-2.

Farhat, the skipper, hammered 18 fours in his 262-ball unfinished knock. This is his second century in the tournament and 37th of his first-class career.

Akbar smashed 14 fours in his 260-ball unfinished effort, his 12th first-class century.

Sohail Khan (1-37) and Mir Hamza (1-60) were the successful bowlers.

Sindh captain Sarfaraz Ahmed used eight bowlers.

Both the teams are playing the match for the fifth position.

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