Hamza rattles KPK as Sindh retain top position with 127-run victory

KARACHI: Mir Hamza was on song with his superb bowling spell that rattled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK)’s batting line on the last day of their seventh-round contest here at State Bank Stadium. 

Set to chase 257, KPK resumed Day 4 at 13-0. Sindh were on top after a slow start from the opposition. Mohammad Hasnain and Sohail Khan picked up two wickets initially after which Hamza joined the party at the center.

The left-arm pacer picked up six wickets in winning cause for Sindh who retained top position on the points table after seven rounds completed in the premium First-Class (FC) tournament.

Sahibzada Farhan top-scored with 39 runs that saw the ball crossing the boundary six times. KPK were bowled out for 130.

Earlier, Khurram Manzoor once again sailed the sinking ship of his team by scoring a hundred which was his 30th in FC cricket. He made 107 runs laced with 12 boundaries as Sindh took the 256-run lead over KPK. Saad Khan made 89 to strongly support the Sindh’s opener at the crease.

On the other hand, Central Punjab’s batters, Waqas Maqsood and Muhammad Ali, only managed to add 10 runs to their side’s overnight score of 197/9, and the Central were bundled out for 207 in the first session of the final day, setting a target of 20 runs for Northern, which they comprehensively chased down for the loss of one wicket and registered their first victory in the ongoing edition of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (QEAT).

Haider Ali’s double century in the first innings laid the foundation for his team’s victory. Later, Haris Rauf’s six-fer in the first innings and Mubasir Khan’s six-fer in the second, aided Northern’s first victory. Haris took nine wickets in the match, while Mubasir took eight.

In another seventh-round match, Southern Punjab openers Tayyab Tahir and Umar Siddique were unable to extend their stand and the partnership was broken without adding a run on the final day as Umar was run-out on 17. Tayyab and Zeeshan Ashraf batted sensibly and formed an important partnership before Zeeshan was dismissed on 30 by Akif Javed. On the next ball by Akif, Salman Ali Agha bagged a golden duck.

Tayyab and Yousuf Babar, however, ensured that their side did not collapse, recording a brilliant 133-run partnership before Yousuf was sent back to the pavilion by Gohar Faiz on 63. Soon after, Tayyab was also dismissed; the batter had top-scored for the side with 86 runs before being sent back to the pavilion by Kashif Bhatti.

Muhammad Imran (36) and Zia Ul Haq (27) also made important contribution to the team’s total and Southern, in the end, were dismissed on 311, setting a target of 189 for Balochistan.

Kashif, a left-arm spinner, was the pick of the Balochistan bowlers, taking four wickets. Akif struck out three batters. Gohar and Akber-Ur-Rehman, on the other hand, each struck out a batter.

Balochistan batters could only face five overs in reply before stumps were called on the final day. Balochistan finished with a score of 24/0, and the game ended in a draw.

Northern will now face table-toppers Sindh in the eighth round of QEAT, which will take place from December 6th to December 9th. Central, on the other hand, would face Balochistan in the same round. Whereas, Southern will face KPK.

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