KARACHI: The 10-round league stage of the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy ended on Wednesday with Northern tasting their first defeat of the season at the hands of defending champions Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The loss, however, wasn’t enough to affect Northern’s position at the top of the Trophy standings — with 135 points — and a place in the final against Sindh, who were dominant in their draw with Balochistan.
Sindh, who accumulated 128 points, could have missed out on their maiden appearance in the finale had it not been for Central Punjab’s stalemate with Southern Punjab, which saw the former champions end their campaign with 124 points.
The Quaid Trophy final starts Saturday at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore and will be a five-day affair.
At the Shoaib Akhtar Stadium in Rawalpindi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa won by 50 runs — their first win this season — after bundling Northern out for 171 with the latter starting the fixture’s fourth day with a 175-run deficit and six wickets in hand.
Off-spinner Sajid Khan hurt Northern the most, bagging five wickets at the expense of just 50 runs while Mohammad Imran claimed three victims.
Northern wicket-keeper/batter Rohail Nazir’s 62-run knock was not enough to rescue the side from an unbeaten record this season.
At the Gaddafi Stadium, the match between Central Punjab and Southern Punjab was declared with the latter at a 216-2 in their second innings.
The lion’s share of the total belonged to Usman Salahuddin, who smashed an unbeaten 100 off 134 balls. Sharoon Siraj hit 74.
Earlier, Central Punjab were bowled out for 490 in their first innings, giving Southern Punjab a 60-run lead. Captain Mohammad Saad scored 182 while all-rounder Aamer Yamin recorded a half-century.
Skipper Hasan Ali and Hassan Khan took three wickets apiece for Southern Punjab.
At the Lahore’s LCCA Ground, Sindh enforced a follow-on on Balochistan, who could manage 485 in response to the former’s mammoth first-innings total of 644-6.
Balochistan opener Imran Butt, who reached his hundred a day earlier, went on to score 195 off 314 balls. The right-hander added 210 runs for the third wicket with his captain Asad Shafiq — who hit 105 — before the team lost their last eight wickets for 93 runs.
Left-arm spinner Danish Aziz took five wickets for 75 runs for Sindh, while off-spinner Aaliyan Mehmood claimed three.
Balochistan were 31-1 when stumps were drawn for the final time in the match.
Match drawn between Balochistan and Sindh
SINDH 644-6 (decl.) in 165.1 overs (Saud Shakeel 181, Khurram Manzoor 174; Kashif Bhatti 3-142); BALOCHISTAN 485 in 132.5 overs (Imran Butt 195, Asad Shafiq 105; Danish Aziz 5-75, Aaliyan Mehmood 3-136) and 31-1 in four overs
Match drawn between Central Punjab and Southern Punjab
SOUTHERN PUNJAB 550-8 (decl.) in 126 overs (Salman Ali Agha 158 not out, Zeeshan Ashraf 145; Qasim Akram 3-43, Umaid Asif 2-87) and 216-2 in 55 overs (Usman Salahuddin 100 not out, Sharoon Siraj 74; Umaid Asif 1-16); CENTRAL PUNJAB 490 in 119.2 overs (Mohammad Saad 182, Qasim Akram 138; Hasan Ali 3-108, Hassan Khan 3-120)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Northern by an innings and 50 runs
NORTHERN 223 in 72.2 overs (Rohail Nazir 82, Mubasir Khan 31; Ihsanullah 4-41, Niaz Khan 3-59) and 171 in 73.5 overs (Rohail Nazir 62, Hasan Raza 45; Sajid Khan 5-50, Mohammad Imran 3-47); KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 444 in 132.4 overs (Maaz Sadaqat 91, Kamran Ghulam 81; Kashif Ali 3-90, Mehran Mumtaz 2-86)
Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2022