Sarmad, Waqas put Northern close to QT final

KARACHI: Sarmad Bhatti and young pacer Waqas Ahmed put Northern close to qualifying for the final as after declaring their first innings on 411-8 they reduced Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to 156-6 on the second day of their last round fixture of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (first-class) here at UBL Sports Complex on Tuesday.Sarmad, who was batting on 70 not out, went on to post 109 to enable Northern to declare their innings at 411-8 in 106.4 overs after resuming at 341-5 to collect full five batting points. The Khairpur-born 28-year-old left-handed batsman smashed 12 fours and two sixes in his 201-ball third first-class hundred for which he stayed at the crease for 305 minutes.Sohail Tanvir smashed 26 off 48 balls, hammering two fours and one six. Off-spinner Sajid Khan was the pick of the bowlers with 4-121 in 35 overs. Left-arm pacer Usman Shinwari got 2-71 in 24 overs.The 22-year-old Sialkot-born pacer Waqas Ahmed then ripped through KP’s batting line-up, reducing them to 156-6 by taking 5-51 in 20 overs.At one stage, KP were in a comfortable position at 114-2, but Waqas’ fiery spell reduced them to 136-6. Skipper Fakhar Zaman was the only batsman who left an impact as he chipped in with 66 off 131 balls, smashing 11 fours. The left-handed batsman stayed at the crease for 192 minutes.Ashfaq Ahmed, who has scored four centuries this season, fell for 29 off 85 balls, having hit four boundaries. At stumps, Mehran Ibrahim (2*) and Rehan Afridi (19*) were at the crease.Here at SBP Ground, Central Punjab cemented their position thanks to excellent hundreds from Usman Salahuddin (114) and Mohammad Saad (105*) as they declared their first innings on 597-9 in 170 overs against Southern Punjab.Resuming at 339-4, Usman and Kamran Akmal (68) batted with perfection, adding 101 for the fifth wicket to strengthen their team position.Usman smashed four fours and two sixes in his 23rd first-class century which came off 256 balls. He stayed at the crease for 322 minutes before being removed by off-spinner Agha Salman.Kamran fell prey to left-armer Zia-ul-Haq after completing his fifty. Pakistan’s discard hammered nine fours in his 105-ball knock.At this stage, it was dependable batsman Mohammad Saad who showed enormous potential by completing his tenth first-class century. The 29-year-old Gujranwala-born right-hander smashed six fours and two sixes in his 203-ball undefeated knock. He stayed at the wicket for 264 minutes.Ahmed Shehzad and Abdullah Shafiq had hammered centuries on the first day for Central Punjab.Agha Salman was the pick of the bowlers with 3-85 in 38 overs. Zia-ul-Haq picked 2-135 in 34 overs and spinner Zulfiqar Babar got 2-151 in 44 overs. Rahat Ali had claimed two wickets on the opening day.In response, Southern Punjab were 23-1 in nine overs. Ehsan Adil had got rid of Test opener Sami Aslam (3).Here at National Stadium, Sialkot-born young all-rounder Amad Butt smashed 106 to enable Balochistan to declare their first innings at 471-9 against Sindh after resuming at 271-2.Amad, who hammered his maiden first-class century, smacked 12 fours and one six from 156 balls. The right-hander added 107 for the sixth-wicket stand with Asif Zakir, who fell for 53 which came off 105 balls and included eight fours.Earlier, Imran Farhat fell at his overnight score of 137 and Akbar-ur-Rehman Akbar on 122 after adding only one run to his overnight total. The duo scored 263 for the third-wicket partnership.Left-arm pacer Mir Hamza claimed 4-98 in 29 overs. Test pacer Sohail Khan got 3-75 in 22.2 overs.In response, Sindh were 71-1 in 27 overs with Khurram Manzoor batting on 40 and Saud Shakeel on 30.Omair Bin Yousuf (1) was removed by left-arm medium pacer Taj Wali.Balochistan and Sindh are fighting for the fifth place in the six-team event.

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