Zeeshan Ashraf’s Ton Puts Southern Punjab in Driving Seat in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy
Southern Punjab opener, Zeeshan Ashraf scored his first century of the first-class season to put his team in the driving seat against winless Sindh on day-one of the four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy ninth round match at the National Stadium on Monday.
Sohaib Maqsood also produced a classy knock of 81 runs to see Southern reach 344 for five at stumps.
All-rounder, Anwar Ali was the stand out bowler in the day with three for 45 from 16 overs.
Zeeshan, a hard-hitting but stylish southpaw scored 133 runs in his third match of the division one championship after getting three successive half centuries including a 94 in the last two rounds. His century today is the third of his first-class career.
Ashraf who idolizes Pakistan opener, Saeed Anwar featured in two productive century partnerships with Abdul Rehman Muzammil and Sohaib Maqsood.
His fourth wicket partnership of 115 runs with Sohaib (81 from 124 balls) put Sindh on the back-foot as both took control in the second session after Southern had decided to bat first.
Joint strong candidates with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to play the final against most likely Central Punjab, Southern lost their inform opener, Sami Aslam (1) early on to Anwar and later Umar Siddiq (27) also fell to young debutant pacer, Shahnawaz Dhani to leave them struggling on 49 for two.
Zeeshan found an able partner in Abdul Rehman (49 from 93 balls) and they steadied the innings with a third wicket stand of 117 runs going to lunch at 91 for two.
Rehman was snapped up by left arm spinner Hassan Khan after lunch but Sohaib strode in to take command of the proceedings.
Playing comfortably on his front foot, Sohaib was quick to punish anything over pitched or short and also went after the spinners using his feet to rattle them as he hit 14 fours.
The stockily built Zeeshan also regularly used his feet to unsettle Hassan and off-spinner, Waleed Ahmed who proved expensive as he was punished on the sweep or through the off-side conceding 73 in 16 luckless overs.
After tea, Sindh captain, Sarfaraz Ahmed got some relief when both the batsmen were dismissed with Zeeshan going for a big hit to be caught at mid-off by Fawad Alam to give Anwar his second wicket.
Anwar also dismissed Sohaib having him caught by Shehzar Muhammad. In their first meeting in the division one match, Southern had defeated Sindh by an innings at the UBL sports complex.
Scores in brief:
Southern Punjab 344 for 5, 90 overs (Zeeshan Ashraf 133, Sohaib Maqsood 81, Abdul Rehman Muzammil 49; Anwar Ali 3-45)