KARACHI: The bowlers will be desperately praying for the Kookaburra balls and the playing surfaces to be friendly to them when the third-round action in the first-class segment of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy starts from Saturday.

After six matches, the only outright result came in the round-two fixture at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad where Central Punjab thumped Northern by innings and 100 runs in less than three days to take the top spot in the six-team standings with a tally of 35 points.

Skippered by Test star Azhar Ali, Central Punjab now braced themselves for a competitive outing against the Imran Farhat-led hosts Balochistan at the scenic Bugti Stadium in Quetta

Cricketing action will continue in Quetta as Balochistan hosts Central Punjab at the picturesque Bugti Stadium in the third round of the four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, which commences on Saturday.

Balochistan dominated Southern Punjab in the first major fixture to be staged in the country’s largest province for over 11 years and forced the visitors to follow on but the pitch played true on the fourth and final day which enabled Shan Masood’s charges to leave Quetta in the end with a comfortable draw.

After two lacklustre encounters — against Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, respectively — at the UBL Sports Complex here in Karachi, Sindh, captained by Test batsman Asad Shafiq, will be keen to chalk up their first victory as they visit the struggling Umar Amin-led Northern in the first match to be played at the KRL Stadium in Rawalpindi this season.

Young Omair Bin Yousuf struck purple patch in his very first appearance for Sindh with a brilliant innings of 174 — the highest individual score of the second round — against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who are being skippered by discarded Pakistan T20 opener Sahibzada Farhan.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, meanwhile, take on Southern Punjab at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium but the inclement weather in Abbottabad could disrupt play with reports of heavy rains on Friday. But if there is live action, the in-form Ashfaq Ahmed would be sighting a third consecutive century for the hosts.

Meanwhile, a century from Central Punjab’s Ali Zaryab and a sustained bowling effort of slow left-armer Jalat Khan were the main highlights of second day’s play in the third-round match of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Second Xi competition.

The current spell of rains in Karachi played havoc with the game between Sindh and Northern with just over 15 overs of play possible at the NBP Sports Complex with the home side still to complete their first innings.

Close of play scores on Friday:

Second XI, third round (day two of three):

At NBP Sports Complex, Karachi: SINDH 238-8 in 73 overs (Mohammad Waqas Jr 54, Rameez Raja Jr 35, Saad Khan 35; Naved Malik 2-6, Salman Irshad 2-34, Usama Mir 2-66) vs NORTHERN.

At LCCA Ground, Lahore: BALOCHISTAN 335-9 in 83 overs (Akbar-ur-Rehman 107 not out, Awais Zia 100, Taimur Ali 43; Aizaz Cheema 4-50) and 3-0 in 3 overs; CENTRAL PUNJAB 349 in 83 overs (Ali Zaryab 107, Muhammad Ikhlaq 83, Irfan Niazi 78 not out; Jalat Khan 7-120).

At Hayatabad Sports Complex, Peshawar: KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 346 in 80.3 overs (Khushdil Shah 120, Mehran Ibrahim 113; Zulfiqar Babar 4-101, Agha Salman 3-97) and 33-3 in 12 overs (Ataullah 2-10); SOUTHERN PUNJAB 348-6 in 83 overs (Zain Abbas 88, Agha Salman 58, Mohammad Imran 57 not out, Mohammad Umair 48, Zeeshan Ashraf 47; Ahmed Jamal 3-59).

Third-round schedule (Sept 28-Oct 1):

Balochistan vs Central Punjab (Bugti Stadium, Quetta); Northern vs Sindh (KRL Stadium, Rawalpindi); Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Southern Punjab (Abbottabad Cricket Stadium, Abbottabad).

Current standings (Tabulated under played, won, lost, drawn, points):

Central Punjab 2 1 0 1 3 5 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 2 0 0 2 2 3 Sindh 2 0 0 2 2 0 Southern Punjab 2 0 0 2 2 0 Balochistan 2 0 0 2 2 0
Northern 2 0 1 1 1 1

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2019

Opinion

Editorial

IMF’s projections
Updated 18 Apr, 2024

IMF’s projections

The problems are well-known and the country is aware of what is needed to stabilise the economy; the challenge is follow-through and implementation.
Hepatitis crisis
18 Apr, 2024

Hepatitis crisis

THE sheer scale of the crisis is staggering. A new WHO report flags Pakistan as the country with the highest number...
Never-ending suffering
18 Apr, 2024

Never-ending suffering

OVER the weekend, the world witnessed an intense spectacle when Iran launched its drone-and-missile barrage against...
Saudi FM’s visit
Updated 17 Apr, 2024

Saudi FM’s visit

The government of Shehbaz Sharif will have to manage a delicate balancing act with Pakistan’s traditional Saudi allies and its Iranian neighbours.
Dharna inquiry
17 Apr, 2024

Dharna inquiry

THE Supreme Court-sanctioned inquiry into the infamous Faizabad dharna of 2017 has turned out to be a damp squib. A...
Future energy
17 Apr, 2024

Future energy

PRIME MINISTER Shehbaz Sharif’s recent directive to the energy sector to curtail Pakistan’s staggering $27bn oil...