KARACHI: Table-toppers Northern were put into survival mode by Southern Punjab early in their Quaid-i-Azam Trophy match at the Abbotabad Cricket Stadium on Friday.
Having shown utter dominance in the tournament so far with three convincing wins and no losses, Northern were stuttering at 94-4 by the close of the second day’s play of the sixth-round match in response to Southern Punjab’s mammoth first innings total of 566-7.
The major chunk of hurt to Northern was caused by pacer Sameen Gul, who bagged three wickets. Pakistan Test medium-pacer Mohammad Abbas claimed one victim.
When the young pair of opener Mohammad Huraira (39 not out) and all-rounder Mubasir Khan (18 not out ) walk onto the crease on Saturday, they will be facing an improbable task of avoiding the follow-on for their team, which still requires 273 runs.
Earlier, Southern Punjab’s Salman Ali Agha brought up his second consecutive century after Umar Siddiq (117) and Usman Salahuddin (126) also smashed tons.
Salman hit nine fours and two sixes for his quickfire 103 before captain Hasan Ali smashed 53 off 38 and Ali Usman added an unbeaten 38 before Southern Punjab declared the innings.
At the Multan Cricket Stadium, 19-year-old Balochistan batter Haseebullah scored his maiden first-class century against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The left-hander contributed an unbeaten 100 not out off 202 balls — hitting 12 fours — and combined with Hussain Talat for a sixth-wicket partnership of 201 runs.
Hussain also hit a ton, plundering the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bowlers for 13 fours for his 112 —his fifth first-class century before Balochistan declared at 487-7 and reduced Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to 52-4 by stumps.
Akif Javed took 2-26 for Balochistan while Bilawal Iqbal and Yasir Shah took a wicket each.
Elsewhere, Central Punjab all-rounder Aamer Yamin followed up his bowling exploits against Sindh in the first innings with a high-class performance with the bat at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.
The right-hander blasted 63 off 49 — hitting nine fours and a six — and was the top-scorer as Central Punjab posted 305. Azhar Ali (48), Qasim Akram (47) and Abid Ali (44) were the other prominent scorers for the former champions.
For Sindh, in-form leg-spinner Abrar Ahmed continued to shine as he picked up 4-82 while pacer Muhammad Umar took 3-63.
Sindh, trailing by 116, resume their second innings on Saturday.
Northern trail by 472 runs against Southern Punjab
SOUTHERN PUNJAB 566-7 (decl.) in 122 overs (Usman Salahuddin 126, Umar Siddiq 117, Salman Ali Agha 103 not out; Kashif Ali 2-110); NORTHERN 94-4 in 22.3 overs (Mohammad Huraira 39 not out; Sameen Gul 3-23)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa trail by 435 runs against Balochistan
BALOCHISTAN 487-7 (decl.) in 142.3 overs (Hussain Talat 112, Haseebullah 100 not out; Sajid Khan 3-155); KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 52-4 in 18.1 overs (Waqar Ahmed 24; Akif Javed 2-26)
Sindh trail by 116 runs against Central Punjab
SINDH 188 in 56 overs (Saad Khan 29, Saim Ayub 26; Aamer Yamin 5-54) and 1-0 in 1.3 overs
CENTRAL PUNJAB 305 in 95.5 overs (Aamer Yamin 63, Ali Shan 55 not out; Abrar Ahmed 4-82, Muhammad Umar 3-63).
Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2022