The Quaid-e-Azam Trophy resumed after a two-week break because of PSL playoffs. With Pakistan’s 35 man squad leaving for the New Zealand tour, all sides had to change their playing eleven and combinations. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa defeated the defending champions Central Punjab while the other two games could not yield a result.
Sindh, Southern Punjab settle for a draw
Asad Shafiq was in action for the first time after being dropped from the national team, and he let his bat do the talking with ma brilliant 141. He along with Omair Bin Yousuf added 228 runs for the fourth wicket to help Sindh post 383 in the first innings. Omair struck 153, while Saad Ali made 33. Other than that no Sindh player could reach double figures. Zahid Mahmood was once again the pick of the bowlers as he took 4 wickets for 83.
Southern Punjab finished with 295 in their first innings on the back of 95 from opener Zain Abbas. Punjab were in dire straits as they were reduced to 9 for 233 but Agha Salman’s timely 67 ensured that his team didn’t concede a big lead. Tabish Khan and Shahnawaz Dhani put up a good show with the ball as they took 4 and 3 wickets respectively.
Sharjeel Khan’s quickfire century helped Sindh declare at 253 for 6. Southern Punjab had 62 overs to survive and they did that quite comfortably in the end. The 25-year-old Saif Badar top scored with 70 and he was ably assisted by Agha Salman and Imran Rafiq as Southern ended at 206 for 4.
Balochistan and Northern play out an enthralling stalemate
The game between Northern and Balochistan was perhaps the best of the season so far. Balochistan was on top for the most part of the match. 95 from Azeem and 71 from Ayaz Tassawer helped Balochistan post a formidable 418 in the first innings. Northern’s captain, Nauman Ali picked up four wickets. In reply, Northern was bowled out for 275.
On the third day, Balochistan declared their innings on 253 on the back of Azeem Ghumman’s 91, who yet again, missed out another century. Northern was given a target of 394 and all thought this game is going to a draw but Northern had other ideas. The last year runner ups once again showed why they are contenders for this season as they came out with positive intent.
By tea time on the fourth day, match hung in balance as Northern required 109 runs and Balochistan needed 6 wickets. Umar Amin made 123 off just 162 while Muhammad Nawaz scored 95. Both left-handers jotted a 223 runs partnership for the fifth wicket. When fading light ended the proceedings, the Northerners were in a touching distance of the win, requiring just 9 runs to win.
KPK thump Central Punjab by 5 wickets
The defending champions, Central Punjab succumbed to their third defeat of the season. It was a dismal batting performance from Punjab in the first innings as they were bundled out for 158. Usman Salahuddin top scored with 54. In reply, KPK were in a spot of bother with 98 for six but captain Khalid Usman’s timely 92 helped his team get a 78-runs lead.
Punjab got 248 in the second innings, setting a target of 172 on a pitch that was spinning a lot. KP batsmen involved in small partnerships which were enough to carry them across the line on the third day. With this win KPK have moved to third place on the table while Central Punjab are languishing at the bottom.
Here is a look at the table after fourth round of Quaid-e-Azam trophy.