KARACHI: Despite a courageous century from Saud Shakeel, Northern cantered to their second victory on the trot in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy First XI championship here on Monday when they nailed Sindh by 128 runs at the UBL Sports Complex.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ended their barren run as they won for the first time this season by inflicting Southern Punjab, who began with back-to-back wins in the opening two rounds, their first loss in the championship, while reigning champions Central Punjab still remained winless as they drew with Balochistan.
On a turning pitch, Sindh — who were chasing an improbable 423 — survived until 4:19pm but their resistance was finally over when they were eventually bowled out for 294 in their second innings after resuming the fourth and final day at 77-3.
While Northern skipper Nauman Ali starred with his second consecutive double-figure match bag — the 34-year-old slow left-armer picked up 11-106 during the nine-wicket defeat of holders Central Punjab at the NBP Sports Complex last eight week — by claiming five wickets in both innings here, it was the gallantry of Saud that stood out.
The left-handed Saud came of age by scoring 174 — the 25-year-old’s highest score and ninth ton in 40 first-class appearances — in a timely nudge to the national selectors, who are due to unveil two squads for the upcoming trip to New Zealand where the senior national side will face the hosts in Tests and Twenty20 Internationals while the second-stringers — Pakistan Shaheens — are slated to play against New Zealand ‘A’.
Saud was last out, caught at mid-on by Hammad Azam off Mohammad Nawaz, Northern’s other slow left-armer, after striking 27 boundaries in his 296-ball knock which lasted eight minutes under eight hours. On the way, Saud added 83 for the fifth wicket in 95 minutes with Test left-hander Fawad Alam (36) and 71 in 126 minutes for the ninth wicket with Tabish Khan (12).
But Sarfaraz Ahmed again fell cheaply. Following his first-ball dismissal, the Sindh captain was caught at slip off Nauman for 16. The game was soured by several incidents over decisions of umpires — Faisal Afridi and Saqib Khan — as both Sarfaraz and Asad Shafiq copped fines from match referee Mohammad Anees after showing resentment upon being given out in first and second innings, respectively.
Nauman claimed 5-95 for a match haul of 10-157 in 52.3 overs, while Northern pocketed 24 points and Sindh just four.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on the hand, sealed a 75-run triumph at the NBP Sports Complex when they bowled out Southern Punjab for 187 in their second innings — 45 minutes after the tea break — after the latter had resumed play at 13-0 in pursuit of a 263-run chase.
Barring Umar Siddique (56), no other batsman could withstand the spin duo of left-armer Khalid Usman (4-50) and off-spinner Sajid Khan, who claimed 3-63 to finish with match bag of nine for 134.
Hussain Talat, standing in for regular skipper Shan Masood, failed to repeat his first-innings heroics of 131 when the left-hander holed out in the deep for just four runs.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa earned 22 points, while Southern Punjab got five.
After crashing to defeats against Sindh and Northern, respectively, Central Punjab settled for a draw at the National Stadium where Balochistan first added 43 runs to their overnight second-innings total of 170-7 to be all out for 213 with slow left-armer Ahmed Safi capturing all three wickets to fall on Monday to end up with 4-31.
Set to make 269 on a pitch that showed signs of inconsistent bounce at times, Central Punjab adopted for a safety-first approach. They managed 225-7 when the match concluded with Azhar Ali leading the rearguard as the skipper registered his second 50-plus score of the match. He finished on an undefeated 95 in 286 minutes with his 184-ball innings, while hitting 11 boundaries.
The stalemate resulted in Balochistan collecting 12 points and Central Punjab 10.
There will be an 11-day recess in the competition as National Stadium prepares to stage the Pakistan Super League’s playoffs from Nov 14 to 17 before round four of the championship begins here from Nov 20.
Scores and results on Monday (final day of four):
First XI, third round:
At National Stadium, Karachi: Match drawn.
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 213 in 74.1 overs (Ali Waqas 39, Taimur Ali 34, Amad Butt 26, Adnan Akmal 25, Usama Mir 25; Ahmed Safi 4-31, Ehsan Adil 2-45, Waqas Maqsood 2-59); 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) and 225-7 in 66 overs (Azhar Ali 95 not out, Mohammad Saad 47, Usman Salahuddin 27, Kamran Akmal 22; Amad Butt 2-45, Khurram Shehzad 2-49)
At UBL Sports Complex, Karachi: Northern beat Sindh by 128 runs.
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 294 in 91.2 overs (Saud Shakeel 174, Fawad Alam 36; Nauman Ali 5-95, Mohammad Nawaz 2-48)
At NBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Southern Punjab by 75 runs.
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 187 in 71.1 overs (Umar Siddique 56, Mukhtar Ahmed 38, Agha Salman 25, Mohammad Ilyas 22; Khalid Usman 4-50, Sajid Khan 3-63, Usman Khan Shinwari 2-30).
Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2020