Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Round 7, Day 1: Irfanullah takes five, Haider, Salman and Zeeshan hit centuries
The seventh-round of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2021-22 began at three Karachi venues today. The opening day was dominated by Southern Punjab and Northern batters while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bowlers reigned supreme against Sindh.
The toss was uncontested at the UBL Sports Complex, Karachi as Southern Punjab were asked to bat first by Balochistan.
Left-handed batter Zeeshan Ashraf who was included in the Southern Punjab squad for this round, made an immediate impression for his side with a stroke-filled 102 off 116 balls (13 fours, three sixes).
The left-hander registered the sixth first-class century of his career. Zeeshan added 75 runs for the third-wicket with Salman Ali Agha.
Salman posted the 10th first-class century of his career as he took over the scoring reins after Zeeshan’s departure. The right-hander hit 15 fours in his typically stylish unbeaten 117-run innings that was compiled off 182 balls.
Salman was at the crease when stumps were drawn for the day with Southern Punjab placed at a healthy 327 for three after 85 overs batting. Salman has so far added 154 runs for the unfinished fourth-wicket partnership with Yousuf Babar (45 off 117 balls, four fours).
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa opted to bowl after an uncontested toss against table-toppers Sindh at the State Bank of Pakistan Stadium. The match is being live streamed on PCB’s YouTube channel.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bowlers made most of the conditions and the decision to bowl first by reducing Sindh to 78 for four at lunch. Left-arm-spinner Asif Afridi made the inroads before lunch as he dismissed Sindh’s in form openers (Khurram Manzoor and Ahsan Ali) cheaply.
Pacer Irfanullah Shah took over the wicket taking mantle post-lunch as Sindh were sent packing for 145 in 42.1 overs. The right-armer Irfan recorded the sixth five-wicket haul of his first-class career taking with figures of 12-2-43-5. Asif took three while pacer Arshad Iqbal took two wickets.
Captain Asad Shafiq and Faraz Ali were the combined best scorers for Sindh with 31 runs each. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s superb bowling effort earned them the full six bowling points.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lost their first two wickets with only 32 runs on the board. At this stage captain Iftikhar Ahmed joined opener Musadiq Ahmed. The two added 92 runs for their unbroken third-wicket stand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa finished the day a mere 21 runs behind Sindh at 124 for two.
Musadiq has so far hit nine fours and one six in his 72 off 93 balls, Iftikhar’s unbeaten 34 has come off 69 balls with the aid of four fours.
Over at the National Bank of Pakistan Sports Complex, Northern got off to a steady start against Central Punjab who had opted to bowl after an uncontested toss. Northern reached 77 for one at lunch. Opener Muhammad Huraira who is featuring in his maiden first-class season scored an enterprising 54 off 108 balls (eight fours). Huraira added 96 runs for the second-wicket with his captain Umar Amin who scored 50 off 73 balls (seven fours).
Both Huraira and Umar fell with the score at 119, at this stage Haider Ali was joined by Faizan Riaz. Haider took control by playing some typically aggressive shots in his stellar batting performance.
The right-hander fresh from a player of the match winning performance in the third Bangladesh-Pakistan T20I hit as many as many as 22 fours and one six in his unbeaten 141 off 168 balls.
Haider now has three first-class centuries to his name in only nine appearances.
Haider added 204 runs in the unbroken fourth-wicket alliance with Faizan Riaz who proved the perfect foil for Haider with 57 off 131 balls (five fours). Muhammad Ali with two wickets was the most successful bowler of the day for Central Punjab.
Scores in brief
Southern Punjab 327 for 3, 85 overs (Salman Ali Agha 117 not out, Zeeshan Ashraf 102, Yousuf Babar 45 not out; Akif Javed 1-59)
Points so far: Southern Punjab – three, Balochistan – one.
Sindh 145 all out, 42.1 overs (Asad Shafiq 31, Faraz Ali 31; Irfanullah Shah 5-43, Asif Afridi 3-16)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 124 for 2, 32 overs (Musadiq Ahmed 72 not out, Iftikhar Ahmed 34 not out; Sohail Khan 1-24)
Points so far: Sindh – zero, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa - six.
Northern 323 for 3, 87 overs (Haider Ali 141 not out, Faizan Riaz 57 not out, Muhammad Huraira 54; Muhammad Ali 2-54)
Points so far: Northern - three, Central Punjab - one.