Hussain?s valiant century secures draw for Balochistan against Southern Punjab

LAHORE: A valiant century by Hussain Talat helped Balochistan secure a draw against Southern Punjab in their four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy sixth-round match at Quetta’s Bugti Stadium on Thursday.Balochistan began the day at 30 for two while following-on, needing 177 runs to make Southern Punjab bat again. Their problems were multiplied when they lost two wickets for 14 runs and were 44 for five.But Hussain, with his solid technique, stitched a 167 runs partnership for the sixth wicket with wicketkeeper-batsman Bismillah Khan, who scored 50 runs from 102 balls, hitting six fours and a six.Bismillah’s dismissal, which left Balochistan at 211 for six, opened up the possibility for Southern Punjab to secure their second win of the tournament, but Hussain kept pushing the opposition bowlers back and scored a remarkable 136 off 167.The all-rounder cracked 17 fours and four sixes in his 240-minute stay at the crease, before he was removed by Rahat Ali, who recorded his career’s 12th five-for. The left-arm medium-fast bowler took five for 49 in 24 overs.Mohammad Irfan Jnr was the other notable bowler as his right-arm medium-fast accounted for three Balochistan’s wickets for 64 runs.Balochistan were finally bowled out for 295 in the evening session, setting an 89-run target in 13 overs for Southern Punjab. The two captains shook hands 2.3 overs into the final innings of the match, with the scorecard reading 11 without loss of any wicket and Sami Aslam and Umar Siddique batting at six and two, respectively.At Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad, Central Punjab recorded a crushing 204-run win over Northern. This was Central Punjab’s third win of the season, which further consolidated their position at the top of the six-team table.On day four, left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar took seven wickets for 79 in 28 overs to spearhead Central Punjab’s victory. The 24-year-old took 11 wickets in the match for 133 runs.Off-spinner Bilal Asif, who accounted for three wickets in the first innings, took the other three wickets to fall. Overall, the spin duo took 17 out of the 20 Northern wickets.Chasing 381 runs for an outright win, Northern’s lower-order caved in against the two spinners in the first session of play on Thursday. Resuming at the overnight score of 121 for five, Northern were bowled for 176 runs in 56.3 overs.Central Punjab only needed 16.3 overs to finish off Northern’s second innings. Raza Hasan remained unbeaten on 20 off 34 balls.Jamal Anwar (17) and Nauman Ali (16) failed to convert their starts into substantial innings. At Abbottabad Cricket Stadium, play was not possible for the second consecutive day because of heavy rains.Sindh had scored 147 for three in 36 overs by the close of play on Tuesday in their reply to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s first innings 288 all out.Khyber Pakhtunkhwa received two batting points for scoring 288 and one point for taking three wickets. Sindh received three bowling point for bowling out Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.From November 11, Sindh host Northern at National Stadium in Karachi in their next match, while Southern Punjab take on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan play Central Punjab at other venues.

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