Northern, KP record impressive wins to stay alive in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy

Northern, KP record impressive wins to stay alive in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy

KARACHI: Northern and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recorded impressive wins over Balochistan and Central Punjab, respectively, to stay alive in the penultimate round of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (first-class) here on Thursday.

Northern overpowered Balochistan by eight wickets, their second win which propelled them to the third spot. On the fourth and final day, here at UBL Sports Complex, Northern chased the 192-run target in 32.2 overs, scoring at an impressive run-rate of 5.94.

Ali Sarfaraz and Faizan Riaz remained unbeaten on 95 and 52, respectively. The duo put on 118 for the third wicket after openers Umar Amin (0) and Zeeshan Malik (37) had fallen. Ali cracked 15 fours and a six in his blistering knock which lasted for 87 balls. Faizan smashed four fours and four sixes in his 43-ball effort.

Earlier in the day, Balochistan added 44 runs to their overnight score of 189-8 before being skittled out for 233 after having conceded a 42-run first innings lead. Stumper Bismillah Khan, who was on 32 on Wednesday, marched on to his first-class career’s 20th fifty, scoring 69 off 101 balls with six fours and two sixes. Northern captain Nauman Ali bagged his fifth five-wicket haul of the tournament, most for any bowler this season. The left-arm orthodox returned five for 75. He was supported by Waqas Ahmed, who claimed 4-72.

Balochistan scored 300 in their first innings. In response Northern made 342. After gaining 22 points from the match, Northern jumped to the third spot on the table with 106 points. They were ranked fourth before the ninth round.

Balochistan, at the bottom of the points table, are out of the race for the final. Northern take on second-ranked Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at State Bank Stadium in Karachi in the final round which begins on December 2. Balochistan play Sindh, ranked fifth and also out of the contention for final, at the National Stadium.

Here at the NBP Sports Complex, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa handed Central Punjab their first defeat of the season as they recorded a 211-run win. Central Punjab, chasing 325, were bowled out for 113 in the afternoon session.

Mohammad Saad and Umar Akmal, who resumed their innings on the overnight scores of one and 0, showed resistance in the earlier part of the morning session, adding 45 for the fifth wicket.

But Central Punjab began losing wickets, one after another, after drinks and were 89 for seven at lunch. Umar top-scored with 43 from 76 balls, hitting seven fours, while Saad made 12 from 50 balls.

KP got the remaining three wickets in the second session with leg-spinner Mohammad Mohsin doing most of the damage with three for 34.

Usman Salahuddin was not out on 29 from 118 balls. He hit two fours and a six. KP scored 355 and 197-7 declared. Central Punjab made 228 in their first innings.

This was KP’s second consecutive win in the tournament. They are second with 119 points. Central Punjab, despite the defeat, continue to lead the table with 120 points.

Here at National Stadium, Abdul Rehman Muzammil stroked his way to a century as the match between Southern Punjab and Sindh ended in a draw. Muzammil scored an undefeated 103 off 209 balls with 14 fours and two sixes.

As soon as the right-hander reached his hundred, the bails were drawn as no result was in sight with Southern Punjab at 236-5 in 75.4 overs. Muzammil added 138 for the fourth wicket with Sohaib Maqsood (76 off 107).

When Southern Punjab started their second innings, all-rounder Anwar Ali, who had taken 5-75 in the first innings, dismissed Sami Aslam (4) and Zeeshan Ashraf (3) cheaply.

Muzammil and Sohaib then played aggressively on the flat track. Sohaib struck 11 fours and three sixes in his 107-ball knock. After tea, Southern Punjab lost Adnan Akmal for one. The drawn match saw five centuries from both teams with Fawad Alam scoring 211 and Sarfaraz 131 for Sindh. Zeeshan Ashraf, Adnan Akmal and Muzammil were the century-makers for Southern.

Southern Punjab posted 517-9 in their first innings. In response, Sindh were bowled out for 486.

Fourth-ranked Southern Punjab play table-toppers Central Punjab here at SBP Stadium in their next game.

Sindh and Balochistan, ranked fifth and sixth, respectively, and out of contention for the final, take on each other at National Stadium.

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