Shehzad, Debutant Shafiq Put Central Punjab in Command in Quaid-e-Azam
A thumping 179-run stand between captain Ahmed Shehzad and debutant Abdullah Shafiq has put Central Punjab in a formidable position, after an early loss, on the opening day of the last round of Quaid-e-Azam trophy encounter against Southern Punjab.
Central Punjab, elected to bat after winning the toss against Southern Punjab in the decisive fixture of the four-day first-class tournament at the State Bank stadium.
The table-topper, with 120 points, got an early blow when Zia-ul-Haq trapped Salman Butt (7) LBW on 24, however captain Ahmed Shehzad and Abdullah Shafiq shielded Central Punjab from the onslaught, scoring half century each before the lunch interval.
The duo continued their flow in the second session as well, however Ahmed Shehzad perished soon after stroking his 13th first-class century.
Rahat Ali came into his own in the 50th over to dismiss Ahmed Shehzad on 100 to end the 179-run stand between Ahmed and Abdullah for the second wicket. Ahmed's innings was stitched with 11 fours. Rahat, on the very next ball, sent Umar Akmal packing on a duck.
Abdullah Shafiq consolidated with Usman Salahuddin, scoring his maiden first-class century however got out on 133 off 209 deliveries with 16 fours and a six.
Experienced Kamran Akmal joined Usman Salahuddin at the twilight of the day to plug the wickets flow and escort Central Punjab to 334 for four when stumps were drawn.
Usman Salahuddin (53) and Kamran Akmal (30) have knitted an unbeaten 51-run stand before the end of the day to fetch three batting points for Central Punjab so far.
With four wickets in the bag, to date, Southern Punjab have also had three bowling points to their overall tally of 102.
Before the commencement of the tenth round, Central Punjab were on top of the table with an aggregate of 120, while Southern Punjab were on fourth pedestal with 102 points.
Scores in brief:
Central Punjab 339-4, 91 overs (Abdullah Shafiq 133, Ahmed Shehzad 100, Usman Salahuddin 53 not out; Rahat Ali 2-65, Zia-ul-Haq 1-82, Zulfiqar Babar 1-91) v Southern Punjab