The second round of Quaid-e-Azam trophy came to an end which saw Southern Punjab further consolidate their position on the top of the table. Northern bounced back from their defeat while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa managed to come out with a draw against Sindh. Here is a look at how things stand after two rounds.

Northern bulldoze Central Punjab

Both teams were coming into the game with a defeat in the first round. Northern elected to field first. It was another dismal performance from the Central Punjab batting line up as they were bundled out for just 159 under 60 overs. Captain, Noman Ali led his troops from the front and took 4 wickets to demolish Punjab. Ali Zaryab was the top scorer with 75 to his name.

In reply, Northern batted sensibly with Umar Amin, Asif Ali and Hammad Azam scoring half-centuries and finished their innings at 354 with a lead of almost 200. Punjab’s bowling attack had all the experience but they couldn’t make early inroads.

It was always going to be difficult to come back from this and a special performance was needed from the senior pros like Ahmed Shehzad and captain Azhar Ali. Azhar did show some resistance but more was needed from them. Noman Ali wreaked havoc as he picked up 7 wickets to take his tally in the game to 11. Northern was given a target of 33 which they chased down in 5 overs to register their first win in this season.

Southern Punjab on a roll

Shan Masood’s men were coming into the game on the back of a resounding win over Northern and started brilliantly again with Muhammad Ilyas dismissing Sami Aslam on the first delivery of the game.  After this domestic veteran, Imran Farhat played some counter-attacking cricket. He along with Imran Butt stitched a 199-run partnership. Farhat completed his 38th first-class hundred but soon was dismissed by Dilbar.

Zahid dismissed Butt soon and after that Balochistan started losing wickets at regular intervals and were eventually bowled out for 372. In reply, Southern made 331 courtesy half-centuries from Shan Masood, Imran Rafiq and Agha Salman. Yasir Shah took a fifer.

After conceding a 41 run lead, Southern bowlers came back strongly. Zahid Mahmood bagged 4 to take his tournament tally to 17 while Abbas and Dilbar bagged two each. Balochistan was dismissed cheaply for 112 which meant Punjab had to chase just 154 which they did quite easily in the end.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa dig out a draw against Sindh

Sindh batted first and on the back of Sarfraz Ahmed’s and Fawad Alam’s fighting partnership posted 361 in the first innings. The Captain scored a gritty 131 while Fawad fell nine short of what would have been his second hundred this season.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa finished their first innings on 307 courtesy contributions from Israrullah (67) and Rehan Afridi (53). Usman Shinwari also made a crucial half-century. Ashiq Ali was the pick of the bowlers as he picked up five wickets.

Sindh declared their second innings on 234 for 7 on the back off Asad Shafiq’s 72*. Ashiq Ali took six wickets to almost win the game for Sindh but ran out of time.

The author is a member of staff and heads the sports and business desks at The Correspondent. He mainly lives in the shadows as a ghost writer so you may have read his work and not even known it. He can be reached at asadqasim@thecorrespondent.pk

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