Karachi – Sports Reporter:
A 74-minute vigil by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Mohammad Wasim Jnr denied Northern crucial 16 points for an outright win that would have seen them leapfrog Southern Punjab to capture the top spot in the six-team points table as the two sides played out a thrilling draw at the National Stadium on Sunday.
Debutant Wasim made 18 not out from 59 balls as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa finished at 319 for nine from 97 overs before bad light forced an end to the final day’s play.
Wasim’s unbeaten stay at the crease included an undefeated 22-minute last wicket partnership with Arshad Iqbal, who scored one from 17 balls.
Northern’s win seemed certain when their captain Nauman Ali, who took four wickets for 112 runs in the innings, took Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s ninth wicket, Imran Khan Snr, with the batting side 81 runs away from the target.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa openers Israrullah and Musadiq Ahmed provided their side a solid platform to chase down a 390-run target with a 155-run alliance, in which 100 runs were added on the fourth morning, as both batsmen smashed half-centuries.
Israrullah made 64 with the help of four fours, while Musadiq’s 85, the top-score of the innings, was studded with eight fours and three sixes.
Kamran Ghulam followed his first innings 67 with an 89-ball 45 (five fours and a six). Zohaib Khan was the notable run-getter with 42 off 134 balls.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were dealt with top-order and middle-order collapses. They lost their second and third wickets for 24 runs and their next blip saw them lose fourth and fifth wickets without the addition of any run.
Their captain Khalid Usman weathered the storm with a 42-ball 23.
Pacers Waqas Ahmed and Munir Riaz, the debutant who recorded a five-wicket haul in the first innings, took two wickets each.
Northern – who took 13 points from the match, the most for any team in this round – are tied with Southern Punjab, the table-toppers, with 74 points but are positioned second on the points table because of a low net run-rate. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who pocketed 11 points, remain at the third place.
The first leg of Punjab Derby at the UBL Sports Complex resulted in an exciting draw as Central Punjab were 164 for nine at the close of play in their pursuit of 259.
The contest was spiced up by leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood’s fourth five-wicket haul as the 32-year-old accounted for Saad Nasim (39), Hasan Ali (0), Mohammad Saad (one), Ahmed Safi Abdullah (one) and Bilal Asif (two).
Central Punjab’s last six wickets to fall on the day added only 17 runs with the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh wickets adding only four runs.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Ali Shan top-scored with 43 before Bilawal Bhatti dismissed him. Muhammad Imran took two wickets for 47 runs.
Southern Punjab had posted 190 for five from 40 overs in their second innings thanks to a 73-run alliance for the fourth wicket between captain Umar Siddiq and Saif Badar, as both batsmen scored 63 runs each.
Umar had accumulated the score from 93 balls, which included eight boundaries, while Saif’s came at a quicker rate as the 22-year-old faced 77 balls, which included eight fours and a six.
Earlier, Hasan Ali smashed 59 not out off 53, which lifted Central Punjab to 459 all out. The Central Punjab captain crunched 10 fours and a six as he stitched a 94-run stand – 58 of which were scored on the fourth morning of the match – with Waqas Maqsood (30 off 43).
Southern Punjab bagged 10 points (five for draw, four for batting and one for bowling) from the fixture, while Central Punjab pocketed nine (five for draw, three for batting and one for bowling).
Sindh and Balochistan added five more points to their accounts as their match at the State Bank Stadium ended in a draw.
Sindh, set a 283-run target to be chased in 42 overs, were 96 for three in 27 overs when captains of the both teams – Asad Shafiq (Sindh) and Imran Farhat (Balochistan) – decided to shake hands after the completion of the 27th over in the final session of the match.
Saud Shakeel, the left-handed batsman who batted one-drop, followed a remarkable first innings 142 with a top-score of 48 before he was dismissed by Kashif Bhatti.
Saud hit four fours and two sixes. He had walked in to bat with the scorecard reading none for one after pacer Taj Wali accounted for Sindh opener Sharjeel Khan.
Saud stitched a 67-run stand for the second wicket with Omair Bin Yousuf which while denying Balochistan bowlers any further opportunities to make inroads ensured that the contest ends in a draw.
Omair, the other centurion in Sindh’s first innings, made 20 from 39 balls, before Jalat Khan bowled him.
Asad was not out on 22.
Earlier in the day, Balochistan’s Akbar-ur-Rehman was amongst the run-getters as his scintillating form with the bat garnered him 76 runs from 115 balls – the top-score of the innings.
It was on the back of Akbar’s brilliant 164 that Balochistan had set an imposing 458 for nine in the first innings and pocketed four batting points.
In their second innings, Balochistan posted 231 for four from 60 overs. They had begun the day at 42 for none.
Akbar crunched eight fours and a six and put a 135-run alliance with Ali Waqas, who contributed an impressive 72 not out.
Ali’s 118-ball stay was studded with eight boundaries.
Openers Azeem Ghumman and Bismillah Khan made 44 and 23 after starting the day at 24 and 14.
For their next round matches, Balochistan will stay at the State Bank Stadium to play Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while Sindh will move to National Stadium to face rivals Central Punjab in a broadcast match.
Scores in brief:
At National Stadium, Northern chose to bat:
Northern 460-9, 102.2 overs (Faizan Riaz 146, Mohammad Nawaz 121, Nasir Nawaz 68, Asif Ali 52 not out, Sarmad Bhatti 24; Zohaib Khan 3-46, Arshad Iqbal 2-74, Sajid Khan 2-112) and 247-4, 49.1 overs (Umair Masood 103 not out, Faizan Riaz 56, Mohammad Nawaz 29 not out, Sarmad Bhatti 25, Nasir Nawaz 24; Sajid Khan 2-72)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 318 all out, 76.2 overs (Khalid Usman 113 not out, Kamran Ghulam 67, Rehan Afridi 34, Mohammad Wasim Jr 27; Munir Riaz 5-113, Nauman Ali 2-64) and 319-9 (Musadiq Ahmed 85, Israrullah 64, Kamran Ghulam 45, Zohaib Khan 42, Khalid Usman 23; Nauman Ali 4-112; Waqas Ahmed 2-36, Munir Riaz 2-70)
Result: Match drawn
Match points: Northern 13 (five draw, five batting, three bowling), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 11 (five draw, three batting, three bowling)
At UBL Sports Complex, Southern Punjab chose to bat:
Southern Punjab 527-7, 134 overs (Salman Ali Agha 169, Muhammad Imran 100 not out, Umar Siddiq 94, Zain Abbas 69, Bilawal Bhatti 37, Saif Badar 22; Hasan Ali 2-79, Waqas Maqsood 2-88, Ahmed Safi Abdullah 2-118) and 190-5, 40 overs (Umar Siddiq 63, Saif Badar 63, Salman Ali Agha 22 not out; Bilal Asif 2-65)
Central Punjab 459 all out, 140.4 overs (Usman Salahuddin 76, Saad Nasim 69, Ali Zaryab 67, Hasan Ali 59 not out, Ali Shan 44, Ahmed Shehzad 33, Waqas Masood 30, Bilal Asif 24; Salman Ali Agha 3-69, Bilawal Bhatti 3-60, Zahid Mahmood 2-137) and 164-9, 39 overs (Ali Shan 43, Saad Nasim 39, Ali Zaryab 34; Zahid Mahmood 5-23, Muhammad Imran 2-47)
Result: Match drawn
Match points: Southern Punjab 10 (five draw, four batting, one bowling), Central Punjab 9 (five draw, three batting, one bowling)
At State Bank Stadium, Sindh elected to bowl:
Balochistan 458-9, 115.5 overs (Akbar-ur-Rehman 164, Ayaz Tasawar 138 not out, Ali Waqas 46, Imran Farhat 33, Kashif Bhatti 23, Azeem Ghumman 22; Shahnawaz Dhani 4-79, Abrar Ahmed 3-123) and 231-4, 60 overs (Akbar-ur-Rehman 76, Ali Waqas 72 not out, Azeem Ghumman 44, Bismillah Khan 23)
Sindh 407 all out, 121.2 overs (Saud Shakeel 142, Omair Bin Yousuf 109, Saad Ali 56; Jalat Khan 5-85, Mohammad Talha 2-64, Taj Wali 2-86) and 96-3, 27 overs (Saud Shakeel 48, Asad Shafiq 22 not out, Omair Bin Yousuf 20)
Result: Match drawn
Match points: Balochistan 11 (five draw, four batting, two bowling), Sindh 11 (five draw, four batting, two bowling)