Northern overcome Southern Punjab challenge to take top spot

The matched played at the National Stadium Karachi turned out to be the most competitive in the sixth round. Southern batted first and posted 285 which was largely due to a 143-run partnership between Umer Siddiq and Saif Badar who made 89 and 81 respectively. Agha Salman, tournament highest run-getter so far chipped in with a half-century. At one stage Southern Punjab was looking good to score 350 plus but Northern pulled them back to pick up last five wickets for just 28-runs.

Northern in reply finished on 381 with another century from Umar Amin while Hammad Azam scored 91. Zahid Mahmood was the pick of the bowlers as he bagged four scalps but couldn’t stop Northern from getiing a 97-run lead.

With a big deficit to cover, Southern needed big partnerships at the top which they didn’t get. They were tottering at 4 for 82 at one stage when Agha Salman and Imran Rafiq knitted a 127-run partnership to instil some hope. Agha Salman made 89 while Imran Rafiq scored 61. Both were dismissed by Nauman Ali who bagged six in the innings.

Chasing 200 to win could have been tricky but a 97-run second-wicket stand between Umar Amin and Nasir Nawaz broke the back of the chase. They scored 68 and 65 respectively. Hammad Azam provided the finishing touches with a brisk 53 off 48 and Northern romped to victory in the 42nd over. With this win, Northern now sit at the top of the table with 98 points.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa trounce Balochistan

Despite a horrid start in the first innings which saw Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reduced to 65-4, they dominated the game. Kamran Ghulam’s brilliant 153 helped them to post 320 on the board. The 25-year-old scored half of the runs for his team. The only support he could find was from Riaz Afridi who made 50. Khurram Shehzad and Umaid Asif did the bulk of the damage and bagged four and three wickets respectively.

In reply, Balochistan was bundled out for 120 in just 33 over giving KPK a matchwinning lead of 200. Captain, Bismillah Khan remained not out on 50. KPK just had to use three bowlers as Irfanullah picked up four while Sameen Gul and Muhammad Wasim bagged three wickets each. Although KPK could only manage 199 in the second innings but Balochistan had a daunting task of chasing 400. Balochistan batsmen showed much better composure in the second innings but more was needed of them to rescue the situation. Ali Waqas top-scored with 44 as KPK won the game by a huge margin of 175-runs.

Central Punjab sink Sindh

The defending champions Central Punjab finally registered their first win of the campaign after a dominant perfromabce against Sindh. Punjab made 276 courtesy half centuries from Ali Zaryab (56) and Usman Salahuddin (80). Sindh were taken to the cleaners in their first innings on the back of a brilliant spell of swing bowling from Waqas Maqsood. In his ten over, the left-arm pacer picked six wicets for just 25 runs.

Central was in a spot of bother when they were reduced to 118-7 but two partnerships of 62 and 68 between the tailenders ensured that Punjab remains in the ascendancy. Ahmed Safi Abdullah scored 80 off just 60 balls with 6 sixes in his innings while Waqas Maqsood made a handy 34.

Sindh while chasing 432 started briskly as Sharjeel Khan raced to 89 but he lacked support from other batsmen big time. Five players got out without scoring a single run, kind of summing up Sindh’s match. Captain Asad Shafiq faced 35-balls for his duck. Waqas Maqsood backed up his performance in the previous innings with three wickets to take the match tally to 9. Hasan Ali picked up four as Sindh were bowled out for 204.

This is how the table looks like after six rounds.


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