Central Punjab seal third win in succession, KP trounce SP

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KARACHI: Holders Central Punjab are back in business in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy after skipper Hasan Ali inspired them to a third straight victory when they trounced Balochistan on day three by nine wickets at the SBP Sports Complex here on Wednesday.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa further consolidated their position at the top of the leaderboard after taking 15 Southern Punjab wickets during the day on their way to a 10-wicket rout at the UBL Sports Complex in the other eighth-round fixture to finish inside three days.

The Central Punjab-Balochistan game came to an end in the afternoon session in a deserved success for the current champions as they knocked off the small margin after Balochistan averted an innings drubbing on the back of a heroic seventh-wicket partnership of 138 between Umaid Asif (69 off 100 balls, 10 fours and one six) and Jalat Khan (65 off 86, five fours and two sixes).

Resuming at 130-6 and still requiring 109 runs to make Central Punjab bat, Balochistan made a gallant attempt to delay the inevitable but once the Umaid-Jalat stand was dismantled, the rot set in quickly as Balochistan were bowled out for 285.

Hasan repeated his five-for act in the first innings on Tuesday by adding two more wickets to his overnight haul of three before finishing with 5-76 in 17 overs, giving the 26-year-old Pakistan paceman match bag of 10 for 108 from 26.2 overs.

Left-armer Waqas Maqsood also had a good game with three wickets apiece across both innings to sit after taking 3-63 on Wednesday.

Central Punjab — who remained winless in the five-match first segment of the championship were bottom of the six-team standings, are still in fourth place but with a tally of 102 points — just a handful of points behind Southern Punjab and Northern, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are virtually assured of reaching the final after their latest victory — fifth — swelled their tally of points to 140.

Southern Punjab crashed to their third loss in the championship after barely making Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bat again. Upfront they doubled their overnight score of 145-5 before being dismissed for 290 in their first innings while responding to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s 487.

At one point, Southern Punjab were in danger of being all out below the 200-run mark when their eighth wicket fell at 189. But all-rounder Aamir Yamin took the matters into his own hands by bludgeoning a sensational 93 from just 55 deliveries while overwhelmingly outscoring Mohammad Ilyas (6 not out) during their ninth-wicket partnership 92.

Aamir’s innings included as many as 80 runs in boundaries as the right-hander clobbered eight sixes and an equal number of fours. Opener Zain Abbas added 12 runs to his Tuesday’s score of 64 before being trapped LBW by off-spinner Sajid Khan, who surpassed the 50-wicket landmark this season as he finished with 5-104 in 21 overs.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa skipper Khalid Usman grabbed 3-79 before enforcing the ensuing follow on. Southern Punjab mustered 200 in their second innings after being 98-5. Mohammad Umair was the top scorer with a 102-ball contribution of 77 (11 fours and one six), while Khalid took 3-63 with Fakhar Zaman and Sajid sharing four wickets between them.

Sindh, in the meantime, were heading for a much-needed second win after reducing Northern to 126-4 of the televised fixture at the National Stadium after the latter trailed by a massive 311 runs in the first innings after discarded Test batsman Asad Shafiq had registered a 25th century in first-class cricket.

With opener Sarmad Bhatti forced to retire hurt, Northern have a real battle on their hands on Thursday’s last day of the match since they still need 185 runs to avoid innings defeat with their key batsmen all back in the hut.

Earlier, Sindh closed their innings at 514-8 just as drinks were due in the afternoon session. Captain Asad remained unbeaten with 117 in a 191-ball knock featuring 13 boundaries. It is the diminutive right-hander’s second ton in the championship.

Saad Ali (44) had partnered Asad in a stand of 115 for the fifth wicket after Sindh resumed at 353-5 before being cleaned up by Mohammad Nawaz, who also claimed two more wickets to finish with five for 108 in 24.1 overs while Northern skipper Nauman Ali employed no less than nine bowlers during the innings with Nawaz not used until late on Tuesday as the eighth bowler.

Close of play scores and results on Wednesday (day three of four):

First XI, eighth round:

At National Stadium, Karachi: NORTHERN 203 in 68.2 overs (Mohammad Nawaz 79, Jamal Anwar 51, Mubasir Khan 26; Azizullah 3-48, Shahnawaz Dhani 3-49, Mir Hamza 3-52) and 126-4 in 45 overs (Faizan Riaz 31, Hammad Azam 25 not out); SINDH 514-8 declared in 143.1 overs (Sharjeel Khan 133, Asad Shafiq 117 not out, Saud Shakeel 81, Saad Ali 44, Saad Khan 41, Shehzar Mohammad 28, Mir Hamza 20; Mohammad Nawaz 5-108).

At UBL Sports Complex, Karachi: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Southern Punjab by 10 wickets.

KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 487 in 147.1 overs (Adil Amin 172, Kamran Ghulam 160, Israrullah 49, Mohammad Wasim 29, Sajid Khan 28; Zahid Mahmood 6-163) and 6-0 in 0.3 over; SOUTHERN PUNJAB 290 in 64.2 overs (Aamir Yamin 93, Zain Abbas 76, Agha Salman 45, Ali Usman 29; Sajid Khan 5-104, Khalid Usman 3-79) and 200 in 50.2 overs (Mohammad Umair 77, Saif Badar 26, Zahid Mahmood 20; Khalid Usman 3-63, Fakhar Zaman 2-19, Sajid Khan 2-85).

At SBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Central Punjab beat Balochistan by nine wickets.

CENTRAL PUNJAB 369 in 103 overs (Ali Zaryab 117, Usman Salahuddin 73, Ehsan Adil 50 not out, Mohammad Saad 45, Ali Shan 28; Jalat Khan 6-116, Raza-ul-Hasan 2-65) and 49-1 in 13.5 overs (Ali Zaryab 22 not out); BALOCHISTAN 130 in 38.2 overs (Adnan Akmal 33 not out, Imran Farhat 30, Akbar-ur-Rehman 25; Hasan Ali 5-32, Waqas Maqsood 3-38) and 285 in 62.2 overs (Umaid Asif 69, Jalat Khan 65, Ayaz Tasawwar 50, Mohammad Talha 26, Ali Waqas 23, Ali Rafiq 20; Hasan Ali 5-76, Waqas Maqsood 3-63).