RAWALPINDI    -    Sensational all-round performance by Hammad Azam gave Sindh a thumping 85 runs victory against Federal Areas in the Mughal Steel Pakistan Cup 2019 match played here at Pindi Stadium on late Saturday night.

Player of the match, Hammad, who scored 78 runs off just 35 deliveries and took four wickets also, gave timely reminder to chief selector that he possesses immense amount of talent and he just requires chances and his due right.

Sindh, who badly need a victory to stay alive in the event, Umar Gul was given the confidence-boost first by his batsmen and then by the bowlers. Batting first, Sindh got off to poor start as opener Umer Siddiq after hitting two boundaries tried to repeat the same and was neatly caught by Bilal Asif of the bowling of left arm pacer Zia ul Haq at the total of 11. Then came the 203 runs stand for second wicket between centurion Ahsan Ali and opener Sahibzada Farhan. Both played with complete authority and hit all the Federal Areas bowlers to all corners of the ground. They both started innings at 2.1 overs and were separated after 33.3 overs but not before taking SIndh to a formidable position. Ahsan showed why he is rated so-highly as pure class was written all over his master-class innings. He consumed 102 deliveries for his magnificent 116 runs innings. He smashed 16 top class boundaries and two out of the park sixes. Sahibzada Farhan also batted beautifully and scored polished 83, hitting 12 fours.

Known as master blaster, Asif Ali failed to prolong his stay. But as he came out to bat, the entire crowd erupted as they were expecting real fire-work from the explosive right hander. Asif, who was looking cautious and scored run a ball 16. He hit one four and one six. Classy Umer Amin remained unbeaten after scoring 69 in just 46 balls he faced. It was the biggest surprise for the crowd as Umer hit 4 fours and 5 sixes in his unbeaten 69. Both Umer and Hammad, who started their careers from Rawalpindi, were enjoying tremendous crowd-support as general stands were pack to capacity due to PCB’s approach. Despite Rs 50 and Rs 100 were charged on weekends, even then locals turned up in huge numbers to support Pindi-boys, who never let down the crowd and were involved in 126 runs unbroken 5th wicket stand consuming 59 deliveries as Sindh posted 385 for the loss of 5 wickets, the highest score of the tournament. Off spinner Bilal Asif was the most successful Federal Areas bowler with 2 for 81. Chasing a huge total, Federal Areas were soon in huge trouble as they lost both openers Ahmed Shahzad and Israrullah with only 49 runs on the board. Israrullah was the first to go with only 15 on the board as he scored 10 of as many deliveries while Ahmed Shahzad was the next to go at the total of 49 after scoring 10 off 18 balls. The youngster Saud Shakeel was looking very dangerous and was playing his strokes well. Skipper M Rizwan’s bad patch in the Pakistan Cup continues as he scored 22. Sohaib Maqsood also left early. With run-rate creeping with every over, pressure was mounting and Federal Areas were losing wickets. They had to face body-blow, as Saud Shakeel after scoring a 37-ball 52 also departed as Federal Areas were reeling at 5 for 118 and were looking to face heavy defeat. But like witnessed in the last match, Rameez Raja Junior and Pindi-boy M Nawaz were involved in a 122-run 6th wicket stand. Rameez and Nawaz hammered Sindh bowlers and were looking like to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat. But as Nawaz was out after scoring 55 with the help of 3 fours and as many sixes and on the every next delivery, Rameez was also back in the pavilion after contributing 70, with the help of 6 fours and 3 sixes. Hammad Azam gave double delight to Sindh with back-to-back wickets. Bilal Asif did try to score few runs, but he also vanished after scoring 29 and Federal Areas innings folded at exactly 300 in 43 overs. Hammad was the star performer as he took 4 for 57, while skipper Umar Gul chipped in with 3 for 30 and Nauman Ali also captured 2 for 56.

It was again highly wonderful crowd present on the occasion. Security was highly alert and Pindi Stadium Manager Nisar Khan and his staff were also making frequent visits to different areas and media centre. Few so-called persons, who consider them as sports journalists always become the reason for embracement for the entire community. Same happened at media centre, when a so-called sports journalists came and took away around two dozen water bottles, soft drinks and also bring with him 7 outsiders and pressurised PCB event manager Emmad Hameed to accommodate them and facilitate them with meal, which he refused and politely told him to behave. It is the duty of respective organisations to depute sports reporters, who must behave and not bring bad name for entire community.

Scorecard

SINDH:

Umar Siddiq c Bilal Asif b Zia-ul-Haq 10

Sahibzada Farhan c Sohaib Maqsood b Bilal Asif 83

Ahsan Ali c Sohaib Maqsood b Bilal Asif 115

Umar Amin not out 69

Asif Ali b Sameen Gul 16

Hammad Azam not out 78

EXTRAS: (lb3, nb3, w8) 14

TOTAL: (4 wkts; 50 overs) 385

FOW: 1-11, 2-214, 3-218, 4-259

BOWLING: Zia-ul-Haq 9-0-80-1, Sameen Gul 9-0-76-1, Mohammad Nawaz 10-0-51-0, Waqas Maqsood 8-0-68-0, Bilal Asif 10-1-81-2, Israrullah 3-0-12-0, Saud Shakeel 1-0-14-0

FEDERAL AREAS:

Ahmed Shehzad c Aamer Yamin b Umar Gul 10

Israrullah c Nauman Ali b Umar Gul 10

Saud Shakeel c Sahibzada Farhan b Aamer Yamin 52

Mohammad Rizwan lbw b Nauman Ali 22

Sohaib Maqsood c & b Nauman Ali 7

Rameez Raja c Umar Amin b Hammad Azam 70

Mohammad Nawaz c Umar Gul b Hammad Azam 55

Bilal Asif c Umar Amin b Hammad Azam 29

Waqas Maqsood b Hammad Azam 13

Zia-ul-Haq not out 5

Sameen Gul lbw b Umar Gul 7

EXTRAS: (b4, lb2, nb1, w13) 20

TOTAL: (all out; 43 overs) 300

FOW: 1-15, 2-49, 3-86, 4-96, 5-118, 6-240, 7-240, 8-266, 9-289, 10-300

BOWLING: Umar Gul 6-1-30-3, Junaid Khan 5-0-37-0, Rahat Ali 4-0-42-0, Aamer Yamin 5-0-44-1, Nauman Ali 10-0-56-2, Hammad Azam 10-0-57-4, Asif Ali 3-0-28-0

TOSS: Sindh

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Hammad Azam

UMPIRES: Mohammad Asif, Waleed Yaqub

TV UMPIRE: Ahmed Shahab

MATCH REFEREE: Muhammad Javed