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Quaid-e-Azam Trophy: Northern on top after Sarmad, Hammad centuries

Centuries by Sarmad Bhatti and Hammad Azam gave Northern a firm grip on their third round first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy fixture against Sindh at the UBL Sports Complex on Sunday.

 

Northern set a daunting 423-run target for Sindh, who were 77 for three before stumps were drawn.

Northern’s Sarmad Bhatti turned his overnight score of 13 into a brilliant 108 as the left-handed batsman recorded his first-class career’s fourth century. The 29-year-old crunched 13 fours and tw0 sixes and, over the course of his 226-ball stay at the crease, stitched a crucial 156-run stand for the sixth wicket with all-rounder Hammad Azam, who stroked a 120-ball 100 not out.

Playing his 100th first-class match, Hammad smashed 12 fours and three sixes on way to his career’s seventh century following which Northern declared their second innings at 311 for six. They had resumed the day at 45 for three.

Sindh have been dealt with the blows of Khurram Manzoor (15), Sharjeel Khan (12) and Asad Shafiq (one) in their ongoing run chase and will be pinning hopes on Saud Shakeel, unbeaten on 46. The three wickets were shared by Aamer Jamal, Nauman Ali and Mohammad Nawaz.

When play resumes on Monday, both Sindh and Northern will be vying for their second win of the tournament. Sindh require 346 more runs, while Northern are seven wickets away.

At the National Stadium, troubles compounded for defending champions Central Punjab as Balochistan were leading them by 225 runs.

In the broadcast match, produced by the Pakistan Cricket Board, Balochistan, in their second innings, had managed 170 for seven by the close of play with Kashif Bhatti, who scored a fighting unbeaten half-century in the first innings, and Usama Mir not out on two and one.

Ali Waqas and Taimur Ali were the notable run-getters for Balochistan with 39 and 34, respectively, while all-rounder Amad Butt followed up his career-best innings figures of six for 57 with a 50-ball 26.

The 25-year-old Amad allowed Central Punjab to add only 47 runs to their overnight score of 204 for six. The right-arm pacer took all of the Central Punjab’s remaining wickets and recorded his career’s fifth five-wicket haul.

As Central Punjab were dismissed for 251 in 75 overs, Balochistan added two more bowling points to take their first innings bowling points tally to seven (three batting points and four bowling points). Central Punjab added another point for breaching the 250-run barrier and took theirs to five.

Central Punjab pacers Waqas Maqsood and Ehsan Adil, who have taken two wickets each in the second innings, will be eager to wrap up Balochistan’s innings without leaking too many runs so their batsmen can look to secure their maiden win of the season.

Southern Punjab were 13 for no loss in five overs against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and needed 250 runs to secure their third win in as many matches.

The Hussain Talat-led side were set a 263-run target after half-centuries from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Musadiq Ahmed and wicketkeeper-batsman Rehan Afridi helped them post 246 all out in the second innings in the match, played at the National Bank Sports Complex.

Southern Punjab could bat only 7.3 more overs after resuming the day at 257 for six thanks to off-spinner Sajid Khan, who dismissed all remaining four batsmen. They were all out for 288, which allowed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bag four bonus bowling points after they had pocketed two for batting yesterday.

 Mohammad Irfan added only two more runs to his overnight score as Sajid Khan, who returned six for 71 to record his second five-wicket haul of the tournament and fifth overall, dismissed him at 73.

When Khyber Pakhtunkhwa batted for the second time in the match, Musadiq, obliged his head coach Abdul Razzaq, who had him called up from the Second XI side to boost the batting department, with a 184-ball 86. The right-handed batsman struck seven fours and three sixes, which were the only maximums in the innings.

Zohaib Khan, another player called up for the third round, and Rehan Afridi made solid contributions in the middle-order. Zohaib struck six boundaries in his 64-ball 40 and Rehan spanked nine fours on his way to 51.

The majority of the damage was done by Mohammad Abbas, who picked up four wickets for 39 runs to finish the match with 10 more wickets in his account.

 

At UBL Sports Complex, Northern chose to bat:

Northern 328 all out, 91 overs (Mohammad Nawaz 73, Hammad Azam 64, Umar Amin 62; Aamer Jamal 24, Nauman Ali 23; Sohail Khan 4-52, Tabish Khan 3-41, Fawad Alam 2-24) and 311-6, 88.1 overs (Sarmad Bhatti 108, Hammad Azam 100 not out, Mohammad Nawaz 36, Asif Ali 22, Umar Amin 20; Mohammad Asghar 2-87)

Sindh 217 all out, 57.3 overs (Sharjeel Khan 48, Fawad Alam 39, Asad Shafiq 35, Saud Shakeel 25, Sohail Khan 23; Nauman Ali 5-62, Waqas Ahmed 4-78) and 77-3, 19 overs (Saud Shakeel 46 not out)

 

Points to date: Northern 8, Sindh 4

SCORECARD

 

At National Stadium, Central Punjab chose to field:

Balochistan 306 all out, 102 overs (Ali Waqas 75, Taimur Ali 63, Imran Butt 53, Kashif Bhatti 51 not out; Ahmed Safi Abdullah 3-56, Waqas Maqsood 3-66, Bilawal Iqbal 3-66) and 170-7, 62 overs (Ali Waqas 39, Taimur Ali 34, Amad Butt 26, Adnan Akmal 25; Waqas Maqsood 2-41, Ehsan Adil 2-45)

Central Punjab 251 all out, 75 overs (Azhar Ali 63, Usman Salahuddin 44, Bilawal Iqbal 28, Ahmed Safi Abdullah 22, Waqas Maqsood 20 not out; Amad Butt 6-57, Taj Wali 2-67)

Points to date: Balochistan 7, Central Punjab 5

SCORECARD

 

At National Bank Sports Complex, Southern Punjab elect to bowl (toss uncontested):

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 304 all out, 108.3 overs (Adil Amin 90, Kamran Ghulam 64, Musadiq Ahmed 41, Zohaib Khan 23, Usman Shinwari 22; Mohammad Abbas 6-33, Zahid Mehmood 2-91) and 246 all out, 72.3 overs (Musadiq Ahmed 86, Rehan Afridi 51, Zohaib Khan 40, Khalid Usman 22, Kamran Ghulam 20; Mohammad Abbas 4-39, Mohammad Imran 2-8)

Southern Punjab 288 all out, 79.3 overs (Hussain Talat 131, Mohammad Irfan 73; Sajid Khan 6-71, Khalid Usman 2-66) and 13-0, 5 overs (Mukhtar Ahmed 8 not out, Zeeshan Ashraf 4 not out)

Points to date: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 6, Southern Punjab 5

SCORECARD