KARACHI: Defending champions Central Punjab were closing in on their third consecutive victory as Sharjeel Khan and Adil Amin both struck centuries ton on second day of the eighth-round Quaid-e-Azam Trophy fixture here on Tuesday.
Fit-again Pakistan paceman Hasan Ali has been the leading light in resurgence of Central Punjab when the 26-year-old led from the front to put his side on verge of a crushing defeat of Balochistan with an eight-wicket haul as Imran Farhat’s men were forced to follow on after being bundled out for 130 at the SBP Sports Complex.
After his new-ball partner Waqas Maqsood had dismissed Ali Rafiq and Ali Waqas on successive deliveries, Hasan returned at the backend to polish off the Balochistan’s tail by grabbing the last four wickets to finish with 5-32 in 9.2 overs. It was 10th such bag in first-class cricket.
Batting again, Balochistan reached 130-6 with Ayaz Tasawwar the solitary batsman to offer resistance. The left-hander scored exactly 50.
Earlier in the morning Hasan had also excelled with the willow as he bludgeoned four sixes and as many fours in scoring a 33-ball 50 that helped Central Punjab extend their overnight total of 297-6 to 369 all out.
Slow left-armer Jalat Khan was the standout performer for Balochistan with figures of 6-116 from 38 overs.
Sharjeel spearheaded Sindh’s dominance for the second day running in the televised game versus Northern at the National Stadium. Resuming at 40-1 in response to Northern’s rather modest first-innings tally of 203, Sindh batted serenely to score 313 in the day’s play before reaching stumps at 353-5.
The left-handed Sharjeel converted his overnight 40 into 133 — the 31-year-old’s 13th first-class hundred and second in the ongoing championship — before a lazy stroke terminated his stay when he offered a dolly catch to Waqas Ahmed off skipper Nauman Ali.
Sharjeel, who adorned his 164-ball knock with 17 boundaries and three sixes, featured in two substantial partnerships. Upfront night-watchman Azizullah did a sterling job by holding his end up while making 16 from 87 balls during the second-wicket stand of 87 with Sharjeel, who then was involved in a partnership of 91 with fellow left-hander Saud Shakeel.
Saud hit up 81 with his 139-ball innings embellished with eight hits to the fence before him and Saad Khan (41) both fell to Mohammad Nawaz in quick successions after having added 83 for the fourth wicket.
Captain Asad Shafiq, who had demoted himself to No.6, was batting on 46 in the company of Saad Ali (23) as the pair further frustrated Northern by putting on 70 during their unfinished stand.
Adil Amin was the star of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by scoring a fourth first-class century just two days after his 30th birthday against Southern Punjab at the UBL Sports Complex. The right-hander, who began the day on 72 in his side’s total of 296-3, was the top scorer with a painstaking 172 as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were finally all out for a commanding 487.
Kamran Ghulam, who was on 145 at draw of stumps on Monday, added only 15 runs until he was trapped in front of the stumps by leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood for 160 (285 balls, 21 fours and one six) after sharing a marathon fourth-wicket partnership of 239 with Adil.
Adil was also dismissed by Zahid after striking 15 fours and three sixes during his 330-ball innings that lasted seven hours and 11 minutes.
Zahid eventually returned analysis of six for 163 in 45.1 overs but despite his heroics, Southern Punjab found themselves in trouble as they slipped from 104-1 to 134-5 before coming off the field at 145-5.
Left-handed opener Zain Abbas put up a defiant show to make an undefeated 64 and put on 91 for the second wicket Agha Salman (45).
Off-spinner Sajid Khan was left stranded on 49 wickets in the tournament after claiming 3-45 on Tuesday.
Close of play scores on Tuesday (day two 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); SINDH 353 in 101 overs (Sharjeel Khan 133, Saud Shakeel 81, Asad Shafiq 46 not out, Saad Khan 41, Saad Ali 23 not out; Mohammad Nawaz 2-23).
At UBL Sports Complex, Karachi: 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); SOUTHERN PUNJAB 145-5 in 33 overs (Zain Abbas 64 not out, Agha Salman 45; Sajid Khan 3-45).
At SBP Sports Complex, Karachi: 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); 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 130-6 in 30 overs (Ayaz Tasawwar 50, Ali Waqas 23, Ali Rafiq 20; Hasan Ali 3-43, Waqas Maqsood 2-35).