Northern reach top of points table after six-wicket win over Southern Punjab
Northern displaced Southern Punjab to claim the top spot on the points table with a six-wicket win on the final day of the sixth round of the first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy at the UBL Sports Complex on Saturday.
Set 200 to win, Northern helped by half-centuries from Nasir Nawaz, Umar Amin and Hammad Azam reached the target in 41.5 overs.
The foundations for the victory were laid with a 97-run partnership between opener Nasir and Umar. The two had come together with the scorecard reading three for one. Nasir top-scored with 68 off 80 balls (nine fours and two sixes) he was supported by Umar at the other end, who returned unbeaten on 65.
Following Nasir’s dismissal by Umar Khan, who took two wickets, Umar stitched another solid alliance with Hammad that took Northern over the line. Umar and Hammad added 81 runs for their undefeated fifth-wicket stand, over the course of which Hammad brought up his sixth half-century of the season. Hammad scored a blistering 53 as he crunched 10 boundaries over the course of his unbeaten 48-ball stay.
Following the defeat, Southern Punjab, who had been at the top of the points table since the start of the season, slipped to the third spot. In the seventh round of the tournament, which commences on 8 December, Southern Punjab will face Balochistan in a broadcast fixture at the National Stadium, while Northern will face Central Punjab at the UBL Sports Complex.
At the National Stadium, Central Punjab, the title defenders, recorded their first win of the season as they inflicted a heavy 227-run defeat on Sindh in a contest which was broadcast on PTV Sports in Pakistan and beamed across the globe through PCB’s YouTube Channel.
Sindh were bowled out for 204 in an extended morning session with Shehzar Mohammad being the only batsman to put a notable resistance. The wicketkeeper-batsman scored 50 off 97 balls, hitting seven boundaries, to register his first-class career’s eight half-century.
Sindh began the morning on 152-4 with Shehzar and Mohammad Saad at the crease on 26 and 24, respectively. Saad could add only seven more runs to his overnight score before pacer Waqas Masqood, who followed up his brilliant 6-25 in the first innings with 3-49, dismissed him.
The pick of the bowlers for Central Punjab in the second innings was their captain Hasan Ali, who added three more wickets on Saturday morning. The right-arm pacer took four wickets for 66 runs and his match returns were 5-114 from 32.5 overs.
Central Punjab bagged 24 crucial points – 16 for outright win, two for batting and six for bowling – from the match, while Sindh, captained by Asad Shafiq, pocketed only three bowling bonus points. Central Punjab remain at the bottom of the points table with 54 points. However, their difference from the next best side, Sindh, is squeezed to nine points.
Sindh will now move to State Bank Stadium to play Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bagged 25 points and jumped to the second spot on the points table as they defeated Balochistan by 175 runs at the State Bank Stadium.
The Khalid Usman-captained side completed the victory in the morning session as Balochistan were bowled out for 224 after resuming the day on 164 for six.
Balochistan’s remaining four wickets lasted only 15.1 overs as Sameen Gul took two more wickets and Mohammad Wasim Jnr added another scalp to his tally. Both pacers finished the innings with three wickets each.
With 34 off 30 balls, which included four fours and two sixes, Jalat Khan was the only player from the batting side to resist Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bowlers before he was run out.
Balochistan, placed fourth before the start of this round, could gain only three points (all bonus points for bowling) from the match.
Southern Punjab 285 all out, 86.3 overs (Umar Siddiq 89, Saif Badar 81, Salman Ali Agha 53, Aamer Yamin 26, Zeeshan Ashraf 25; Sadaf Hussain 3-45, Munir Riaz 2-39, Nauman Ali 2-51) and 295 all out, 93.2 overs (Salman Ali Agha 89, Imran Rafiq 61, Umar Siddiq 34, Aamer Yamin 25, Umar Khan 23, Zeeshan Ashraf 22; Nauman Ali 6-107)
Northern 381 all out, 83 overs (Umar Amin 102, Hammad Azam 91, Mohammad Nawaz 43, Sarmad Bhatti 41, Nasir Nawaz 36, Munir Riaz 23 not out; Zahid Mehmood 4-120, Zia-ul-Haq 2-70) and 200-4, 41.5 overs (Nasir Nawaz 68, Umar Amin 65 not out, Hammad Azam 53 not out; Umar Khan 2-47)
Central Punjab beat Sindh by 227 runs at National Stadium
Central Punjab 276 all out, 103.2 overs (Usman Salahuddin 80, Ali Zaryab 56, Saad Nasim 44, Mohammad Saad 41, Hasan Ali 26 not out; Tabish Khan 3-37, Mir Hamza 3-58) and 247 all out, 61 overs (Ahmed Safi Abdullah 83 not out, Mohammad Akhlaq 56, Waqas Maqsood 32, Saad Nasim 21; Abrar Ahmed 4-40, Shahnawaz Dhani 3-59, Mohammad Umar 2-56)
Sindh 92 all out, 29.3 overs (Saad Ali 17; Waqas Maqsood 6-25, Bilawal Iqbal 2-17) and 204 all out, 76.5 overs (Sharjeel Khan 89, Shehzar Mohammad 50, Saad Ali 31; Hasan Ali 4-66, Waqas Maqsood 3-49)
Match points: Central Punjab 24 (16 outright win, two batting, six bowling), Sindh 3 (all bowling)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Balochistan by 175 runs at State Bank Stadium
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 320 all out, 89.5 overs (Kamran Ghulam 153, Rehan Afridi 58, Khalid Usman 27; Khurram Shahzad 4-80, Umaid Asif 3-88, Taj Wali 2-77) and 199 all out (Israrullah 86, Adil Amin 32; Taj Wali 5-57, Jalat Khan 2-36, Khurram Shahzad 2-47)
Balochistan 120 all out, 33 overs (Bismillah Khan 50 not out, Awais Zia 28; Irfanullah Shah 4-41, Mohammad Wasim Jr 3-24, Sameen Gul 3-54) and 224 all out, 76.1 overs (Ali Waqas 44, Awais Zia 43, Jalat Khan 34; Sameen Gul 3-45, Mohammad Wasim Jnr 3-63, Sajid Khan 2-64)
Match points: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 25 (16 outright win, three batting, six bowling), Balochistan 3 (all bowling)