Imam, Asad bat Balochistan safely to a draw

F.P. Report

RAWALPINDI: Valiant knocks by Imam-ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq helped Balochistan secure a draw against Central Punjab at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on the fourth and final day of the second round of Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2022-23.

The other two matches between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Southern Punjab at Abbottabad and Sindh and Northern at Faisalabad also ended in draws.

Northern – with 33 points – are at the top of the table, followed by Balochistan (30). Central Punjab have 28 points, Sindh 21, Southern Punjab 16 and the title defenders Khyber Pakhtunkhwa find themselves at the bottom with 13.

Balochistan began the day at 137 for one and were 213 runs behind Central Punjab’s mammoth 535 for six with Imam not out on 72. The left-handed opener converted his overnight score into his 10th first-class century before he was run out for 108. The 26-year-old smashed 13 fours in his 231-ball innings.

Following Imam’s dismissal, Asad, the Balochistan captain, took the lead role in the fightback and added 63 runs for the fifth wicket with Ali Waqas (25 off 64), depriving Central Punjab bowlers any further inroads. Asad was unbeaten on 62 off 140 balls and had dragged Balochistan to 303 for six in 118 overs at the close of play.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Kamran Ghulam missed what could have been his second century in as many matches by 14 runs. The right-handed middle-order batter made 86 off 175 (10 fours and two sixes) before Ahmed Bashir curtailed his stay at the crease. Kamran began the fourth and final morning of the match at 41 not out.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were 275 for seven at the start of the day and were all out for 334. Southern Punjab were 101 for two in 44 over with opener Zain Abbas top-scoring with 32 off 51.

Pakistan Test teammates Nauman Ali, captain of Northern, and Fawad Alam, Sindh’s middle-order batter, scored half-centuries at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad.

Northern began the day on 363 for six and were all out on 417 with the highlight of the day being Nauman’s 123-ball 65 (nine fours and two sixes).

Starting the second innings with a 40-run lead, Sindh made 160 for four. They had their first three wickets down for 23, but Saad Khan and Fawad Alam, with 72 and 60 not out, respectively, ensured there were no further dramas and Sindh finish the match as a draw.

Scores in brief:

Balochistan v Central Punjab at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi:

Balochistan 185 all out, 47.2 overs (Hussain Talat 43, Asad Shafiq 34, Haseebullah 25, Azeem Ghumman 21; Ahmed Daniyal 3-41, Mohammad Ali 3-49, Umaid Asif 2-39) and 303-6, 118 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 108, Asad Shafiq 62 not out, Ali Waqas 25; Ahmed Daniyal 3-73)

Central Punjab 535-6d, 143.3 overs (Tayyab Tahir 137, Azhar Ali 107, Qasim Akram 92, Aamer Yamin 50 not out, Mohammad Saad 38, Abdullah Shafique 36, Abid Ali 30; Hussain Talat 2-75, Akif Javed 2-116)

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa v Southern Punjab at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium, Abbottabad:

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 240 all out, 69.2 overs (Waqar Ahmed 134 not out, Sahibzada Farhan 44; Mohammad Ilyas 4-76, Ahmed Bashir 3-31, Hasan Ali 2-42) and 334 all out, 108.5 overs (Kamran Ghulam 86, Sahibzada Farhan 83, Waqar Ahmed 75, Khalid Usman 22; Hasan Ali 4-82, Ali Usman 3-83, Ahmed Bashir 2-76)

Southern Punjab 308 all out, 91.2 overs (Umar Siddiq 112, Salman Ali Agha 64, Yousuf Babar 23; Ihsanullah 3-45, Arshadullah 2-73, Arshad Iqbal 2-87) and 101-2, 44 overs (Zain Abbas 32, Usman Salahuddin 31 not out, Salman Ali Agha 26 not out)

Sindh v Northern at the Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad:

Sindh 457-8d, 138.5 overs (Saud Shakeel 158, Sarfaraz Ahmed 70 not out, Khurram Manzoor 58, Omair Bin Yousuf 36, Saim Ayub 35, Mohammad Asghar 29 not out, Asif Mehmood 21; Mubasir Khan 4-140) and 160-4, 56 overs (Saad Khan 72, Fawad Alam 60 not out; Mubasir Khan 2-57, Mehran Mumtaz 2-84)

Northern 417 all out, 143.3 overs (Faizan Riaz 119, Umar Amin 105, Nauman Ali 65, Sarmad Bhatti 46, Mohammad Huraira 42; Mohammad Asghar 4-138, Zahid Mehmood 4-138).