Zeeshan, Umar dominate with bat; Kamran, Ahmed lead rescue act

LAHORE: Central Punjab were 263-7 in 85 overs when bails were drawn on the opening day of their four-day Quaid-e-Azam Trophy first-class match against Sindh at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad on Monday. Central Punjab were boosted by half-centuries from wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal and opener Ahmed Shehzad.Kamran became one of the two victims of left-arm spinner Kashif Bhatti after scoring 90, while Ahmed scored 60 before perishing to Mir Hamza, who also claimed two wickets on a day when Central Punjab maintained a decent run-rate of over three runs per over.With the 110-over cut-off for collecting bonus points just 20 overs away, both the sides will be aiming to make the most of the morning session on Tuesday (today). After deciding to field, Sindh justified their decision when they reduced Central Punjab to 38-3 with the scalps of Salman Butt (16), Azhar Ali (1) and Umer Akmal (13).Tabish Khan caused the initial damage, claiming two wickets before Ahmed stitched a 86-run fourth-wicket partnership with Usman Salahuddin (38) to repair the damage.Kamran then put on 66 runs for the sixth-wicket with Zafar Gohar (12) before both the batsmen returned to the hut in a space of three runs. Ahmed’s 134-ball innings included eight fours, while Kamran clubbed 13 fours and two sixes in his 99-ball knock.Faheem Ashraf will lead Central Punjab’s charge on Tuesday (today) for additional points when he resumes his innings at 22 from 30 balls with Ehsan Adil (9*) at the crease with him. Meanwhile, Zeeshan Malik’s maiden unbeaten double hundred and Umar Amin’s brilliant century gave Northern an excellent start against Southern Punjab at Jinnah Stadium, Sialkot.The two dominated the first day’s play as Southern Punjab’s bowlers toiled hard. Coming together at the fall of Haider Ali (23) at 41, the two added 343 runs for their unbroken second wicket alliance as Northern ended the day at an imposing 384-1.Northern captain Rohail Nazir won the toss and opted to bat first, the visitors made a solid start and maintained a healthy run-rate to reach 118-1 in 25 overs at lunch.Zeeshan (204*) and Umar (153*) took the attack to the Southern Punjab bowlers and maintained their stranglehold on the proceedings in the post-lunch session. The duo finished the second session together having taken the score to 229-1 in 55 overs.Zeeshan reached his century off 134 balls, he hit 13 fours and four sixes, while reaching the three figures mark. Umar completed his century in the final session of the play, the left-hander reached the three figures mark off 162 balls with the help of 15 fours. Rahat Ali took the only wicket to fall in the day.

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