Northern Reach Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Final with Thrilling Win Over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Northern confirmed their place in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final with a thrilling 39-run win over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on the fourth and final day of the 10th round game at the UBL Sports Complex in Karachi on Thursday.
Captain Nauman Ali led from the front taking four wickets for 72 runs in 28 overs while Sadaf Hussain chipped in with two wickets as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa fell away in their 245-run chase on an absorbing day of cricket.
Resuming their second innings at 39 for two, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were dealt a major blow as Ashfaq Ahmed (10) fell lbw to Mohammad Waqas on the second ball of the day. Israrullah scored a 64-ball 50 (seven fours) to keep his side in the hunt. On the other end Mehran Ibrahim (10) was dismissed by Nauman.
Israrullah’s crucial wicket was taken by Sohail Tanvir which left Khyber Pakhtunkhwa stuttering at 98 for five, they took lunch at 121 for five with Adil Amin batting on 19 and Sajid Khan batting on nine.
Northern consolidated their position with three quick strikes after lunch as Sajid fell without adding to his lunch score while Adil (31) and Rehan Afridi (0) left soon after. Zohaib Khan (51 not out off 122 balls, four fours and one six) added 39 runs for the ninth wicket with Usman Shinwari (17 off 73 balls, three fours).
Usman was sent packing by Sadaf in the final session of the match, while Northern wrapped up their win when Faizan Riaz accounted for Junaid Khan (0) who did not contribute a single-run in the 28-run last wicket stand with Zohaib, to spark celebrations in the elated Northern camp.
Northern collected full 24 points on offer in the game (16 points for their win, five batting and three bowling points). They finished with 130 points to occupy the second spot on the six-team table behind Central Punjab who finished with 133 points after collecting 13 points in their last group match against Southern Punjab that ended in a draw.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa finished at the third spot with 124 points, while Southern Punjab collected 112 points to finish at the fourth spot. Sindh and Balochistan grabbed 90 and 84 points to end the tournament on fifth and sixth position, respectively.
Central Punjab and Northern will now contest the tournament final at the National Stadium Karachi from 27 to 31 December.
Scores in brief:
Northern 411 for 8 declared, 106.4 overs (Sarmad Bhatti 109, Hammad Azam 76, Faizan Riaz 63, Zeeshan Malik 61; Sajid Khan 4-121, Usman Khan Shinwari 2-71) and 139 for 6 declared, 25.2 overs (Zeeshan Malik 52, Faizan Riaz 22; Sajid Khan 2-15)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 306 all out, 100.2 overs (Rehan Afridi 95 not out, Fakhar Zaman 66, Mehran Ibrahim 54; Waqas Ahmed 6-109, Nauman Ali 2-56) and 39 for 2, 9 overs (Sarmad Bhatti 1-13, Nauman Ali 1-15) and 205 all out, 76.4 overs (Zohaib Khan 51 not out, Israrullah 50; Nauman Ali 4-72, Sadaf Hussain 2-42)
Result: Northern win by 39 runs
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