While Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as expected, condemned struggling champions Central Punjab to defeat, the remaining two fourth-round fixtures in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy produced contrasting draws here on Monday.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa didn’t waste much time at the UBL Sports Complex in their chase for the remaining 63 runs as Central Punjab suffered their third loss to stay firmly rooted at the base of the six-team standings.
Resuming at 108-3, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lost both their overnight batsmen, Adil Amin and Mehran Ibrahim, to paceman Bilawal Iqbal before wicket-keeper/batsman Rehan Afridi completed the last rites with 17-ball of 36, which featured four boundaries and two sixes.
Adil, however, still had time to reach his half-century after having started the fourth and final morning on 39. He departed after scoring 53 in a 1060ball innings, containing 10 hits to the fence.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s second success in the championship catapulted them from fifth place to third behind Southern Punjab and last season’s runners-up Northern after they picked up 23 points — including 16 for winning — to take their tally to 56.
Central Punjab earned just five bowling points from their latest hammering to have only 21 points ahead of their derby clash with Southern Punjab that starts from Thursday at the same venue.
Balochistan and Northern played out an enthralling stalemate at the NBP Sports Complex — which was staging its last first-class match this season — when the latter finished just nine runs shy of clinching an incredible victory.
After Balochistan closed their second innings at 250-5 after adding 27 runs to their Sunday’s score of 223-4 with Akbar-ur-Rehman becoming the second man in the innings not get a century. Following the luckless Azeem Ghumman — who hit 95 and 91 in this game — Akbar was caught behind by Umair Masood off seamer Waqas Ahmed for a 103-ball 93 (eight fours and three sixes).
Northern then made a gallant attempt to chase their mammoth target of 394 despite slumping to 62-4 as the left-handed duo of Pakistan discards Mohammad Nawaz and Umar Amin rekindled their hopes of sealing a stunning win with a brilliant partnership of 223 before both went in the space of five runs.
Nawaz missed out the opportunity to raise his sixth hundred at the first level when he was caught by wicket-keeper Bismillah Khan off slow left-armer Kashif Bhatti for 95 with his 180-ball, effort including nine fours and one six
Umar was then trapped leg-before-wicket by the other slow left-armer Jalat Khan for a stroke-filled 123 after striking 17 boundaries and a six in what was the 31-year-old’s 21st three-figure knock in 136 first-class appearances.
But discarded Pakistan all-rounder Hammad Azam and Sarmad Bhatti came out to put on 85 in their eighth-wicket stand to give Balochistan another fright. However, Hammad was run out for 53 just before this remarkable encounter concluded at 5:14pm because of fading light.
Kashif toiled manfully in claiming five wickets for 159 runs in 35 overs, giving him match bag of 9-273 fro, 74.4 overs.
Balochistan secured 12 points to get level with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the same number of points — 56 — before they take on Sindh in their fifth-round tie, which will be the first of six matches to be staged at the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Sports Complex.
Northern, meanwhile, will be action in the televised game at the National Stadium against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 61 points under their belt after pocketing nine versus Balochistan.
Southern Punjab retained top spot with 64 points after denying Sindh victory at the National Stadium by reaching 206-4 after Asad Shafiq’s declaration set them a target of 341.
Scores and results on Monday (final day of four):
First XI, fourth round:
At National Stadium, Karachi: Match drawn.
SINDH 383 in 111.5 overs (Omair Bin Yousuf 153, Asad Shafiq 141, Saad Ali 33; Zahid Mahmood 4-84, Zia-ul-Haq 2-54, Mohammad Imran 2-56, Bilawal Bhatti 2-73) and 253-6 declared in 58.4 overs (Sharjeel Khan 121, Saud Shakeel 70 not out; Mohammad Imran 2-67); SOUTHERN PUNJAB 295 in 86 overs (Zain Abbas 95, Agha Salman 67, Said Badar 43, Imran Rafique 42; Tabish Khan 4-83, Shahnawaz Dhani 3-74, Abrar Ahmed 2-119) and 206-4 in 62 overs (Saif Badar 70 not out, Zain Abbas 42, Imran Rafique 41, Agha Salman 27 not out; Abrar Ahmed 3-80).
At UBL Sports Complex, Karachi: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Central Punjab by five wickets.
CENTRAL PUNJAB 158 in 66.2 overs (Usman Salahuddin 54, Bilal Asif 22, Ahmed Safi Abdullah 20; Sajid Khan 4-56, Imran Khan 3-29, Khalid Usman 2-35) and 248 in 85.2 overs (Mohammad Saad 77, Saad Nasim 52, Bilawal Iqbal 48 not out, Ahmed Shehzad 21; Sajid Khan 6-101, Arshad Iqbal 3-42); KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 236 in 81.3 overs (Khalid Usman 92 not out, Kamran Ghulam 43, Israrullah 25, Musadiq Ahmed 22, Adil Amin 22; Waqas Maqsood 3-41, Bilal Asif 3-107, Ahmed Safi Abdullah 2-41) and 172-5 in 45 overs (Adil Amin 53, Rehan Afridi 36 not out, Musadiq Ahmed 24; Ahmed Safi Abdullah 3-87, Bilawal Iqbal 2-31).
At NBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Match drawn.
BALOCHISTAN 418 in 124.2 overs (Azeem Ghumman 95, Ayaz Tasawwar 71, Kashif Bhatti 54, Ali Waqas 52, Bismillah Khan 38, Mohammad Talha 30, Taimur Ali 26, Imran Farhat 24; Nauman Ali 4-129, Nasir Nawaz 2-15, Mohammad Nawaz 2-71) and 250-5 declared in 52.2 overs (Akbar-ur-Rehman 93, Azeem Ghumman 91; Waqas Ahmed 2-57); NORTHERN 275 in 89.4 overs (Faizan Riaz 78, Mohammad Nawaz 67, Asif Ali 36, Hammad Azam 34, Umair Masood 24; Kashif Bhatti 4-114, Taj Wali 2-45, Mohammad Talha 2-46) and 385-8 in 84 overs (Umar Amin 123, Mohammad Nawaz 95, Hammad Azam 53, Sarmad Bhatti 32 not out, Nasir Nawaz 25; Kashif Bhatti 5-159).