Southern Punjab crush Sindh final hopes
Sindh batted first and had a shocking innings as seven batsmen got out on a duck. They were largely bailed from complete embarasment by a sixth wicket partnership of 179-runs between Muhammad Hasan and Saad Ali. Hasan scored a brilliant 111 while Saad made 79. But as soon as the partnership broke, Sindh could only add 6 more runs to their total and got bowled out for 217. Aamer Yamin and Muhammad Ilyas did the damage with the new ball while Zahid Mahmood wraped up the tail.
With a low score on the board, Sindh bowlers fought valiantly and kept chipping away with wickets. At one sage it was looking like Southern Punjab will take a sizeable lead but last four batsmen could only add 34 runs to the total and Punjab got a lead of 30 runs.
After a dismal performance with the bat in the first innings, Sindh batsmen showed resposnibilty and posted a formidale 399 for 5 in the second innings. Saud Shakeel notched up another domestic ton. The left-hander scored 123. Asad Shafiq, Saad Ali and Sharjeel Khan scored half-centuries as Sindh gave a target of 370.
With a day to bat out Southern Punjab came out with a positive attitude. Zain Abbas and Imran Rafiq laid the foundation of the chase with a second wicket partnership of 137. Zain made 81 while Imran Rafiq scored his fourth ton in domestic cricket. But it was Agha Salman who stole the lielight with a brilliant 100 off just 112 balls. His innigs included 14 boundaries and two sixes. He was ably assisted by Muhammad Umair who made 36 off 38 to register fifth highest run chase in the history of Quaid e Azam Trophy.
Balochistan thump Northern to keep final dream alive
After a dismal performance in Round 8, Balochistan came back strongly against Northern. Batting first, Northern were restricted to 203 on the back of brilliant bowling from Kashif Bhatti and Raza ul Hasan as they took 8 wickets between each other.
In reply, Balochistan posted 372. Captain Imran Farhat lead from the front and scored 77. Akbar-ur-Rehman and Ayaz Tasawwar knitted a 137-run partnership in the middle to gain control of the game. Akbar made 82 while Tasawwar made 69. Nauman Ali continued his great form and bagged 6 wickets for 107 runs in 47 overs.
With a crumbling pitch and a deficit of 169, Balochistan enforced the follow-on. Northern were unable to gauge the spin once again as they were bundled out for 164 in the second innings. Sarmad Bhatti top-scored with 31 runs in the innings. Kashif Bhatti and Raza picked up four wickets each to give Balochistan their second win of the tournament.
Central Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa play out a draw
The most anticipated match of this round was played in the National Stadium Karachi. Both teams were coming into this game on the back of resounding wins in the previous round. Central Punjab won the toss and elected to bat and saw both openers going to the pavilion without scoring. Usman Salahuddin and Muhammad Saad soaked up the pressure from KPK bowlers and scored 53 and 78 respectively. Together they stitched 106 run partnership. Captain, Saad Nasim followed it up with a century and remained not out as Central declared their innings on 351-7.
In reply KPK declared their innings on 312-7. Openers, Fakhar Zaman and Israrullah took the attack to the bowlers and scored brisk 40 and 42 respectively. Adil Amin top scored with 96 runs while Zohaib Khan made 75 runs. Qasim Akram was the pick of the bolwers as he bagged a fifer.
Muhammad Saad backed up his 96 in the first innings with 83 in the second. Qasim Akram made a valuable contribution of 79. With time an issue, Punjab declared on 265-7 setting a target of 305. KPK were 65 for 2 in the second inning when both captains shook hand and match ended in a draw.