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KARACHI: Abbottabad were in heaps of trouble after Karachi Blues put up a strong batting display on day one of their third-round clash in Quaid-i-Azam Trophy Grade-II Cricket Tournament here at the UBL Sports Complex on Saturday.

Replying to Karachi’s commanding total of 333-7 in the stipulated first-innings quota of 83 overs after Abbottabad close to bowl first at the toss, the visiting side went to stumps at a wobbly 6-2 with Test paceman Mir Hamza cleaning up Imran Shah for a fourth-ball duck before spinner Sohaib Khan removing Arshad Iqbal for one.

After losing Ali Asad for duck upfront on the third delivery of the match, Karachi bounced back in style as makeshift opener Hasan Mohsin (49 off 109 balls, four boundaries) and the elegant Saud Shakeel (45 off 72, three fours and one six) adding 86.

The impetus to the innings was provided by the let-handed pair of Ramiz Aziz and skipper Fawad Alam as they put on 102 for the fifth wicket with both going past 80. While Ramiz emerged as the top scorer with a 143-ball knock of 87 (eight fours and one six), Fawad contributed 81 from 113 deliveries as the ex-Pakistan batsman struck eight boundaries.

In the other Group ‘B’ game at the NBP Sports Complex, Larkana were on top as Dera Murad Jamali (DMJ) struggled to 16-2 in response to the former’s 297-5 — a score that included a solid 125 (232 balls, eight fours) by Habibullah, who shared a fifth-wicket stand of 101 with Rameez Ahmed (62 off 111, seven fours and one six) after Mohammad Urs elected to bat first.

Faisalabad were in total command after left-arm paceman Waqas Maqsood grabbed six wickets for 29 in 13 overs to send Bahawalpur crashing to 88 all out at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad.

After Misbah-ul-Haq had elected to bowl first, Bahawalpur collapsed like ninepins while losing all their wickets in the space of 67 runs with just Noman Akram (20), Ataullah (15 not out), Umar Faraz (14) and Sajid Iqbal (12) entering double figures.

Waqas was ably assisted by ex-international Asad Ali who took three for 19 from seven overs before Faisalabad went to stumps at 108-3.

Among the men to get out w2as discarded Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad, who once failed to get going as he departed for only 25 this time with off-spinner Mohammad Umair having the right-hander caught.

The Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) pace trio of Shadab Majeed (4-75 in 19 overs), Naqqash Basharat (3-60 in 14) and Rashid Khan (3-59 in 14) were responsible for restricting Hyderabad to a modest 266 all out after the visitors opted to bat first at the Mirpur Cricket Stadium.

Hyderabad were, in fact, in dire straits at one point when the seventh wicket fell with just 109 runs on the board. However, young Saad Khan (49 off 64 balls, nine boundaries) and tailender Babar Khan (56 not out off 68 balls, 11 fours) came to the rescue with a defiant partnership of 91.

Earlier, Azeem Ghumman bated at the top with a 67-ball 45 (eight fours).

AJK then completed a grand day for themselves by closing at 54 without losing a wicket.

Close of play scores on Saturday (day one of three):

Third round:

Group ‘A’:

At Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad: BAHAWALPUR 88 in 36 overs (Noman Akram 20; Waqas Maqsood 6-29, Asad Ali 3-19); FAISALABAD 108-3 in 36 overs (Khurram Shehzad 37, Ahmed Shehzad 25, Misbah-ul-Haq 18 not out; Mohammad Umair 2-19).

At Mirpur Cricket Stadium, Mirpur (AJK): HYDERABAD 226 in 53 overs (Babar Khan 56 not out, Saad Khan 49, Azeem Ghumman 45; Shadab Majeed 4-75, Rashid Khan 3-59, Naqqash Basharat 3-60); AZAD JAMMU KASHMIR 54-0 in 16.4 overs (Usman Maroof 36 not out).

Group ‘B’:

At UBL Sports Complex, Karachi: KARACHI BLUES 333-7 in 83 overs (Ramiz Aziz 87, Fawad Alam 81, Hasan Mohsin 49, Saud Shakeel 45, Asif Zakir 27, Akbar-ur-Rehman 23; Kamran Ghulam 2-37, Aitzaz Habib 2-78); ABBOTTABAD 6-2 in 5 overs (Sohaib Khan 1-2, Mir Hamza 1-4).

At NBP Sports Complex, Karachi: LARKANA 297-5 in 83 overs (Habibullah 125 not out, Rameez Ahmed 62, Mohammad Urs 33 not out, Hamesh Kumar 26, Mohsin Raza 26; Saleem Mal 2-87); DERA MURAD JAMALI 16-2 in 7 overs.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2019