LAHORE-Sindh were stretched to the limits by a spirited Central Punjab before winning by six wickets, while clinical Balochistan outsmarted Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by 186 runs with more than two sessions remaining on the final day of the four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy fixtures on Wednesday. 

After being set 212 runs to win in 50 overs, Sindh achieved the target for the loss of four wickets with 38 balls in the match remaining, while Balochistan, easily defended 413 runs against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after dismissing their opponents for 226 who had resumed their run-chase at 133 for four. 

In a highly competitive and hard-fought broadcast match played at National Stadium, Central Punjab made a sporting second-session declaration at 243-7 after resuming at the overnight score of 120-4. Usman Salahuddin was top scorer with a 181-ball 75 that included six fours and a six, while M Saad struck his second half-century of the match while scoring a 166-ball 59 with nine hits to the fence. 

Chasing 212 runs for victory in 50 overs, Saud Shakeel anchored Sindh’s innings, first by consolidating his side’s position in association with Omair Bin Yousuf (44) to take them to 93-2 at the halfway stage, before accelerating the scoring in brief partnerships with Sarfaraz Ahmed (11) and Asad Shafiq (45*). Saud was the fourth batsman out with 45 runs still required after a well-constructed 61 from 70 balls with six fours, but Asad Shafiq and Hasan Mohsin (25*) ensured there were no further hiccups for their side. 

By virtue of recording their first victory in the revamped Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Sindh finished with 22 points, including 16 for an outright win, five bowling and one batting, Central Punjab had to content with three points, including one batting and two bowling. In the second round action on Saturday, 31 October, Sindh will travel to the UBL Sports Complex where they will take on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while Central Punjab will take trip to the NBP Sports Complex where they will meet Northern. 

Spin duo of Kashif Bhatti and Yasir Shah equally shared eight wickets between them to spin Balochistan to a comfortable 186 runs victory over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at the UBL Sports Complex. Kashif picked up 4-69 and Yasir grabbed 4-102 as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, chasing an improbable 413-run target and resuming on the final morning at 133-4, were dismissed for 226 before lunch. Adil Amin (67) and Kamran Ghulam (51) offered some resistance while stitching up a 104-run fourth-wicket stand, but the two Balochistan spinners were too hot for KP batsmen to handle. 

SCORES IN BRIEF

CENTRAL PUNJAB (1ST INNINGS) 207 all out, 86.4 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 69, M Saad 51; Tabish Khan 5-44) AND 243-7d (Usman Salahuddin 75, M Saad 59,; Saud Shakeel 2-11, M Umar 2-44, M Asghar 2-62)

SINDH (1ST INNINGS) 239 all out, 105.3 overs (Fawad Alam 115, Khurram Manzoor 35; Waqas Maqsood 4-56, Hasan Ali 3-40, Ahmed Bashir 2-56) AND 212-4 (Saud Shakeel 61, Asad Shafiq 45*; Qasim Akram 2-22)

BALOCHISTAN 362 all out, 110.2 overs (Bismillah Khan 118, Kashif Bhatti 98; Sajid Khan 3-96, Junaid Khan 2-53, Ahmed Jamal 2-70, Imran Khan Sr 2-72) AND 217-8d (Sami Aslam 48, Taimoor Ali 41*; Sajid Khan 5-78)

KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA (1ST INNINGS) 167 all out, 46.5 overs (Khalid Usman 57*, Kamran Ghulam 42; Khurram Shahzad 5-27, Yasir Shah 4-94) AND 226 all out (Adil Amin 67, Kamran Ghulam 51; Kashif Bhatti 4-69, Yasir Shah 4-102)