Umar Siddiq and Imran Rafiq lead Southern Punjab’s fightback

Umar Siddiq and Imran Rafiq put on an unbeaten fourth-wicket stand of 110 runs to lead a fightback for Southern Punjab against Balochistan in their four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match on Sunday.

Replying to the home team’s huge first innings score of 500-9 declared in 130.5 overs, Southern Punjab ended the second day at the Bugti Stadium on 161-3 in 41 overs. They still trail by 339 runs.

The left-handed batting pair of Umar and Imran pulled their team out of trouble after they were reduced to 51-3 in the 15th over.

Umar, who was unbeaten on 67 and had smashed nine fours and a six, and Imran, 56 not out with the help of 11 fours, batted when the stumps were drawn on the second day’s play.

Southern Punjab suffered early blows when they lost captain Shan Masood (6) and last match’s double century-maker Sami Aslam (20) with just 37 runs on the board. Things worsen for the visitors when Sohaib Maqsood (10) was run out before Umar and Imran steadied ship.

Umar Gul and Yasir Shah were the two wicket takers for Balochistan as they picked up a wicket each.

Earlier, Balochistan added a further 153 runs for the loss of five wickets to their overnight score of 347-4 before captain Imran Farhat decided to declare their innings.

Azeem Ghumman, who began the day’s proceedings on an unbeaten 143, was the sixth batsman out for a well-played 163. The right-handed opener’s 10th century in first-class cricket included 16 boundaries. He stayed at the wicket for 520 minutes and faced 336 balls.

Ammad Butt scored a boundary-laden 54 batting at No. 7. He hit nine fours and two sixes. Bismillah Khan (32) and Yasir Shah (31) also added useful runs.

Left-arm spinner Mohammad Irfan was Southern Punjab’s leading wicket-taker, claiming five wickets for 131 runs. This was his 15th five-wicket haul at this level.

Balochistan earned five batting points for scoring 400 or more runs in 110 overs. Southern Punjab got 1 bowling point.

The match continues on Monday from 10am.

Scores in brief:

Balochistan 500-9, 130.5 overs (Azeem Ghumman 163, Imran Farhat 117, Imran Butt 66, Ammad Butt 54; Mohammad Irfan 5-131, Bilawal Bhatti 2-104)

Southern Punjab 161-3, 41 overs (Umar Siddiq 67 not out, Imran Rafiq 56 not out)