KARACHI: It took a sporting statement from Azhar Ali on Wednesday to make the Quaid-e-Azam Cup first-round match between defending Central Punjab champions and results-oriented Sindh here at the National Stadium.
In another match that ended at the start of the fourth and final day, Balochistan beat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by a margin of 186 matches half an hour before lunch at the UBL Sports Complex to claim 25 points.
Sindh, undaunted by having to hit the final shot on a touch unreliable track due to an uneven bounce, made the run for 22 points in fine style by taking the win with 38 passes remaining as they made 214 having lost four goals in 43, 4 overs.
Central Punjab opted to close their second half with 243-7, about 45 minutes into the afternoon session, while putting Sindh target 212 in exactly 50 overs on the pitch where scoring quickly became dangerous as the game progressed.
But the youths of Omair Bin Yousuf (44) and Saud Shakeel (61 of 70 balls, seven limits) hit with confidence after the experienced Khurram Manzoor caught in the middle of Ahmed Bashir for 18.
Batsman examiner Asad Shafiq, who scored just eight in the first inning, also played a major role, contributing 45 of 39 unbeaten balls featuring four four four and one six. Versatile Hasan Mohsin (24 from 18 balls) played a fine hand helping Asad direct Sindh to victory.
Earlier, Usman Salahuddin and Mohammad Saad frustrated Sindh as the pair last night shared a fifth goal partnership with 136 in 233 minutes. Saad followed up his 51 goals in the first half with another 59 fine strokes, while Usman was top scorer with 75 of 181 deliveries.
Captain Yasir Shah took the lead for Balochistan by the second distance from four goals in the match when Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – who was set at 413 for the win – was sent off for 226 after continuing their second half at 133-4. The Leg-spinner Test scored 4-102 in 26 overs, giving him a match score of 8-196. He was skillfully supported by slow leftist Kashif Bhatti who took 4-69 from 22.2 overs.
Adil Amin added just 11 runs left to his tally on Tuesday’s 67, while goalkeeper Rehan Afridi struggled to make 44.
South Punjab, who were the starting leaders with 28 points thanks to their round win against runners-up North last season on Tuesday, will face Balochistan in the second round tie at the National Stadium starting Saturday. Sindh plays Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at the UBL Sports Complex, while Central Punjab faces north at the NBP Sports Complex.
Score and results on Wednesday (last four days):
First XI, first half:
At the National Stadium: Sindh beat Central Punjab by six goals.
CENTRAL PUNJAB 207 in 86.4 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 69, Mohammad Saad 51, Kamran Akmal 24; Tabish Khan 5-44) and 243-7 stated in 94 overs (Usman Salahuddin 75, Mohammad Saad 59, Azhar Ali 29, Qasim Akram 22 no) goes out; Saud Shakeel 2-11, Mohammad Umar 2-44, Mohammad Asghar 2-62); SINDH 239 in 105.3 overs (Fawad Alam 115, Khurram Manzoor 35, Tabish Khan 24; Waqas Maqsood 4-56, Hasan Ali 3-40, Ahmed Bashir 2-56) and 214-4 in 43.4 overs (Saud Shakeel 61, Asad Shafiq 45 did not leave, Omair Bin Yousuf 44, Hasan Mohsin 24 did not leave; Qasim Akram 2-22).
At the UBL Sports Complex: Balochistan defeated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 186 runs.
BALOCHISTAN 362 in 110.2 overs (Bismillah Khan 118, Kashif Bhatti 98, Sami Aslam 56, Khurram Shehzad 37; Sajid Khan 3-96, Junaid Khan 2-53, Ahmed Jamal 2-70, Imran Khan 2-72) and 217-8 declared in 65.5 overs (Sami Aslam 48, Taimur Ali 41 not out, Yasir Shah 41; Sajid Khan 5-78); KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 167 in 46.5 overs (Khalid Usman 57 not out, Kamran Ghulam 42, Sajid Khan 27; Khurram Shehzad 5-27, Yasir Shah 4-94) and 226 in 65.2 overs (Adil Amin 67, Kamran Ghulam 51 , Rehan Afridi 44; Kashif Bhatti 4-69, Yasir Shah 4-102).
Published in Dawn, October 29, 2020
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