Sarmad, Hammad hit tons as Northern tighten grip against Sindh

Published November 9, 2020
NORTHERN’S Sarmad Bhatti drives on his way to 108 as Sindh captain Sarfaraz Ahmed looks on during the third-round match at the UBL Sports Complex on Sunday.—Courtesy PCB
NORTHERN’S Sarmad Bhatti drives on his way to 108 as Sindh captain Sarfaraz Ahmed looks on during the third-round match at the UBL Sports Complex on Sunday.—Courtesy PCB

KARACHI: Northern took complete command of their third-round Quaid-e-Azam Trophy First XI fixture on Sunday after contrasting centuries from Sarmad Bhatti and Hammad Azam had the hapless Sindh side on the run at the UBL Sports Complex.

Sindh braced themselves for an anxious fourth and final day on Tues­day when they restart their already stuttering second innings at 77-3 in pursuit of an unlikely target of 423 with Khurram Manzoor (15), Sharjeel Khan (12) and Asad Shafiq (1) already gone. Saud Shakeel, however, held firm until stumps with a 47-ball 46.

But the day belonged to Sarmad and Hammad as the left-right batting pair put the game beyond Sindh’s reach after coming together at 131-5 — at which point Northern were in front by 242 runs — to share a partnership of 156.

Sarmad, who was born in the Sindh town of Khairpur 29 years ago, made a painstaking 108 in 347 minutes during his fourth first-class century. The left-hander’s 226-ball knock included 13 fours and two sixes.

Hammad, who had not played any international since Zimbabwe last toured Pakistan in May 2015, completed a grand double in this match. Following on the heels of his vital innings of 64 on day one, the 29-year-old Attock-born batting all-rounder brought up his seventh hundred in his 100th appearance at the first-class level before captain Nauman Ali declared his side’s second innings at 311-6. Hammad’s 100 came off only 120 deliveries in a stay of 174 minutes. He hit 12 boundaries and three sixes.

Southern Punjab require a further 250 at the NBP Sports Complex to record their third consecutive victory in the championship after going to stumps at 13-0 in their second innings against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Test star Mohammad Abbas was the leaders’ hero by completing a 10-wicket bag by picking four wickets for 39 runs in 14 overs as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were dismissed for a second-innings tally of 246 with makeshift opener Musadiq Ahmed hitting up 86. Abbas, who had captured 6-33 in the first innings, ended up with 10-72 for the match.

The clash between Central Punjab and Balochistan was intriguingly poised at the National Stadium where the latter had struggled to a second-innings score of 170-7 to have an overall lead of 225.

Earlier, all-rounder Amad Butt took all four remaining wickets to finish with 6-57 in 19 overs as holders Central Punjab were restricted to 251 all out.

Close of play scores on Sunday (day three of four):

First XI, third round:

At National Stadium, Karachi: BALOCHISTAN 306 in 102 overs (Ali Waqas 73, Taimur Ali 63, Imran Butt 53, Kashif Bhatti 51 not out; Ahmed Safi 3-56, Waqas Maqsood 3-66, Bilawal Iqbal 3-66) and 170-7 in 62 overs (Ali Waqas 39, Taimur Ali 34, Amad Butt 26, Adnan Akmal 25; Waqas Maqsood 2-41, Ehsan Adil 2-45); CENTRAL PUNJAB 251 in 62 overs (Azhar Ali 63, Usman Salahuddin 44, Bilawal Iqbal 28, Ahmed Safi 22, Waqas Maqsood 20 not out; Amad Butt 6-57, Taj Wali 2-67).

At UBL Sports Complex, Karachi: NORTHERN 328 in 90 overs (Mohammad Nawaz 73, Hammad Azam 64, Umar Amin 62, Nauman Ali 23; Sohail Khan 4-52, Tabish Khan 3-41, Fawad Alam 2-24) and 311-6 declared in 88.1 overs (Sarmad Bhatti 108, Hammad Azam 100 not out, Mohammad Nawaz 36, Asif Ali 22, Umar Amin 20; Mohammad Asghar 2-87); SINDH 217 in 57.3 overs (Sharjeel Khan 48, Fawad Alam 39, Asad Shafiq 35, Saud Shakeel 25, Sohail Khan 23; Nauman Ali 5-62, Waqas Ahmed 4-68) and 77-3 in 19 overs (Saud Shakeel 46 not out).

At NBP Sports Complex, Karachi: KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 304 in 103.3 overs (Adil Amin 90, Kamran Ghulam 64, Musadiq Ahmed 41, Zohaib Khan 23, Usman Khan Shinwari 22; Mohammad Abbas 6-33, Zahid Mahmood 2-91) and 246 in 72.3 overs (Musadiq Ahmed 86, Rehan Afridi 51, Zohaib Khan 40, Khalid Usman 22, Kamran Ghulam 20; Mohammad Abbas 4-39, Mohammad Imran 2-8); SOUTHERN PUNJAB 288 in 79.3 overs (Hussain Talat 131, Mohammad Irfan 71 not out; Khalid Usman 2-58, Sajid Khan 2-64) and 13-0 in 5 overs.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2020

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