KARACHI: Sindh’s hopes of dismissing Northern for a small total were dashed by a spectacular resurgence by the opposition’s late order batsmen on an enthralling day one of their third-round Quaid-e-Azam Trophy clash here at the UBL Sports Complex on Friday.
Elsewhere, holders Central Punjab also faced tough resistance at the National Stadium where Balochistan made steady progress after Azhar Ali inserted them into bat, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa engineered a good recovery against current First XI leaders Southern Punjab at the NBP Sports Complex.
After electing to bat first when Nauman Ali won the toss, Northern were left tottering at 26-3 inside the first hour and yet, collected 319-9 by draw of stumps. Discarded Pakistan paceman Sohail Khan made inroads upfront with the wickets of Umair Masood (12) and Faizan Riaz (golden duck) after his new-ball partner Tabish Khan had removed Zeeshan Malik for 10 by taking return catch.
Tabish then dismissed the out-of-favour Pakistan batsman Asif Ali (8) to leave Northern in serious trouble at 34-4. Umar Amin — who had seen three partners desert him from the non-striker end — and Sarmad Bhatti (15) carried the score to 90 before the latter was caught by Sindh skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed off Tabish.
Umar, who batted for 195 minutes to make 62 from 129 balls (six fours and one six), provided off-spinner Ashiq Ali — fresh from his 11-wicket haul against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the previous round — with his solitary wicket of the day.
Forgotten Pakistan all-rounders Hammad Azam and Mohammad Nawaz came together at 126-6 to put on 79 before Hammad’s enterprising 102-ball innings of 64 (six fours and five sixes) was terminated by Tabish.
But Northern continued to make excellent recovery through a priceless eighth-wicket partnership of 77 between Nawaz, who top-scored with 75, a 112-ball effort embedded with eight boundaries and a brace of sixes, and Ahmed Jamal (24). Both fell to the occasional spin of Fawad Alam in the space of eight runs.
However, skipper Nauman (15) and last man Waqas Ahmed (18) survived until stumps much to Sarfaraz’s agony to complete a fine day for their side.
Boosted by three half-centuries, Balochistan posted 239-6 against the winless Central Punjab. The early demise of Test discard Sami Aslam, who was bowled neck and crop by a magnificent delivery from let-armer Waqas Masood for seven, was compensated when stand-in Balochistan captain Imran Butt (62 off 121 balls, seven boundaries) and Ali Waqas (75 off 188, nine fours) shared a second-wicket partnership of 120 during the extended three-hour first session.
The left-handed Ali, who underwent a kidney transplant just over five years ago and playing first competitive fixture at the top level since December 2018, failed to capitalise when Mohammad Saad spilled a simple catch at first slip off Waqas Maqsood with his score on 57.
Ali’s 268-minute stay finally came to an end when he was trapped LBW by slow left-armer Ahmed Safi.
Balochistan lost three further wickets but Taimur Ali — the 29-year-old from Jacobabad — held firm until close of play while reaching 59 (115 balls, eight fours).
Adil Amin (90 off 181 balls, nine fours and two sixes) and Kamran Ghulam (64 off 175, nine boundaries) were involved in a 99-run stand which inspired Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to 261-6 in their first innings after the toss was left uncontested.
Test seamer Mohammad Abbas was the standout performer as the Southern Punjab spearhead ended the day with four wickets for just 28 runs in 16 overs.
Close of play scores on Friday (day one of four):
First XI, third round:
At National Stadium, Karachi: BALOCHISTAN 239-6 in 90 overs (Ali Waqas 73, Taimur Ali 59 not out, Imran Butt 53; Waqas Maqsood 3-47) vs CENTRAL PUNJAB
At UBL Sports Complex, Karachi: NORTHERN 319-9 in 90 overs (Mohammad Nawaz 73, Hammad Azam 64, Umar Amin 62; Tabish Khan 3-41, Sohail Khan 3-43, Fawad Alam 2-24) vs SINDH
At NBP Sports Complex, Karachi: KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 261-6 in 93 overs (Adil Amin 90, Kamran Ghulam 64, Musadiq Ahmed 41, Zohaib Khan 23; Mohammad Abbas 4-28) vs SOUTHERN PUNJAB
Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2020