KARACHI: A brilliant century from Ramiz Aziz followed up a devastating spell of pace-bowling by Mir Hamza as Karachi Blues put themselves in driving seat of their Quaid-i-Azam Trophy Grade-II Cricket Tournament semi-final against Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) on Saturday.

A Friday’s curtailed opening day of the three-day tie at the Mirpur Cricket Stadium saw AJK post 85-4 in 43 overs after Karachi Blues skipper Asad Shafiq had no hesitation in inserting the home team in.

But day two was overwhelmingly dominated by the visitors. First up Hamza, the Pakistan Test left-armer, added five more wickets to his tally of two on the opening day to skittle out a shell-shocked AJK for 113 in 52.2 overs.

AJK captain Sardar Hasan Raza added five more runs to his overnight score before left-arm speedster Ghulam Mudassar had him caught by Ramiz for a 131-ball 37 (four boundaries).

Hamza finished with a rich haul of 7-36 in 17.2 overs and Mudassar 2-27 in 13 overs.

Karachi Blues closed at 277-5 to enjoy a commanding lead of 164 runs with the left-handed Ramiz going great guns on 116. His 141-ball knock includes 15 fours and one six.

Openers Ali Asad (29) and Jaahid Ali (39) gave Karachi Blues a fine platform with a partnership of 65 before their side lost three quick wickets.

But from 70-3, Karachi prospered through a 116-run stand between Asad Shafiq and Ramiz. Asad fell to slow left-armer Inzamam-ul-Haq after stroking 71 from 93 deliveries while striking seven fours and one six.

Paceman Shadab Majeed grabbed four of the five wickets for 85 runs in 17 overs.

Meanwhile after a blank day one in the other semi-final at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad because of heavy rains, Abbottabad had advanced to 193-6 in 63 overs after they were asked to bat first by Faisalabad skipper Misbah-ul-Haq.

Aitzaz Habib held the Abbottabad’s stuttering innings together with an undefeated 61 with his 107-ball effort containing 10 boundaries after opener Sajjad Ali (39) and Imran Shah (32) had put on 74 for the second wicket.

Discarded Pakistan pacemen Asad Ali and Ehsan Adil claimed two wickets each.

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

Semi-finals:

At Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad: ABBOTTABAD 193-6 in 63 overs (Aitzaz Habib 61 not out, Sajjad Ali 39, Imran Shah 32; Ehsan Adil 2-24, Asad Ali 3-45) vs FAISALABAD — no play on Friday due to rain.

At Mirpur Cricket Stadium, Mirpur (AJK): AZAD JAMMU KASHMIR 113 in 52.2 overs (Sardar Hasan Raza 37; Mir Hamza 7-36, Ghulam Mudassar 2-27); KARACHI BLUES 277-5 in 69 overs (Ramiz Aziz 116 not out, Asad Shafiq 71, Jaahid Ali 39, Ali Asad 29; Shadab Majeed 4-85).

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2019