Central Punjab became the 1st side to register a win the Quaid e Azam (QeA) Trophy, downing Northern by an innings and 100 runs. Balochistan also look on course for an innings victory against Southern Punjab. While the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa seems to have battled their way to safety.
In Karachi, a century by Ashfaq Ahmed and 70 not out from Zohaib Khan have taken KP to the brink of safety. Finishing on 296/6 they need another 30 runs to avoid the follow-up, which should all but ensure a draw. It was a struggle for Karachi’s bowlers with only 4 wickets falling in the day. Three of those went to Multan Sultan’s left-arm spinner Kashif Bhatti, while veteran pacer Tabish Khan picked up the centurion Ashfaq Ahmed.
The home side Balochistan were able to nail their advantage against Southern Punjab despite a century from Imran Rafiq and a fifty from test cricketer Bilawal Bhatti. SP were bowled out for 308 with Mohammad Asghar picking up three wickets. Yasir Shah also was among the wickets with a brace. Following on, SP made a better start as but against the twin spinners of Balochistan were able to price out three wickets with the score on 132. SP will have to bat out most of the tomorrow to escape with a draw. With Yasir Shah, regaining form, it does look unlikely.
In Lahore, Central Punjab beat Northern comprehensively and jumped to the top of the table with 35 points. Having been bowled out for 114 yesterday, Northern had a mountain to climb to make CP bat again. U-19 opener Haider Ali showed discipline, playing out 116 balls for his 33. He was unlikely to top edge a ball that was heading down the leg side. Small cameos from Umar Waheed, Hammad Azam, Nauman Ali, Waqas Ahmed, and Muhammad Musa were not enough even to force the opposition to bat again. Bilal Asif bagged four wickets, while Zafar Gohar picked up three. Despite, the result is a forgone conclusion it was peculiar to see young pacer Naseem Shah bowling just five overs.
Balochistan have a chance tomorrow to push for victory and get close to CP on the points table.