Northern’s Haider Ali smashed a hundred as once again bat dominated the ball in all three matches QeA matches around the country. Along with Haider, there were centuries for Faizan Riaz, Shan Masood, and the returning Mohammad Rizwan. The silver lining was that all teams did pick up their run rates as compared to previous rounds, with Northern scoring at 4.29 RPO throughout the day.
Much of that high run rate was on the back of a smashing hundred from the 19-year-old Haider Ali. Despite his team’s loss in the last game, the right-hander showed signs of grit and solid technique, playing out time against Central Punjab. Today, Balochistan saw a different side of his game. This time around on a placid wicket, he motored along to 133 from just 147 balls, hitting 21 fours and 2 sixes in the process. He got ample support from Faizan Riaz, who scored a century of his own, finishing the day 113 not out. Ali Sarfaraz also chipped in with a 50 as the batting side finished on 365/5. Taj Wali and Mohammad Asghar picked up a brace each. Perhaps worryingly Yasir Shah remained wicketless and gave way 4.04 runs per over.
In UBL Sports Complex Karachi, Sindh captain Asad Shafiq won the toss and decided to ball first. He would be regretting his decision as Southern Punjab piled on the runs on the back of a ton by Shan Masood and a fifty by Sohaib Maqsood. Captain Shan Masood batted through the day as five wickets fell from the other end. Wicket Keeper Adnan Akmal and Aamar Yamin remained not out, with the score at 303/5. Tabish Khan was the pick of the bowlers, picking up a couple at under 2.7 RPO. Off-spinner Waleed Ahmed also picked a brace.
While table-toppers Central Punjab had a tough day against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as returning Captain Mohammad Rizwan hit 111. Only two wickets fell in the day as Ashfaq Ahmed finished the day on 98, along with the Captain. Central Punjab’s bowlers struggled largely Ehsan Adil and Nasim Shah picking one wicket each. KP will begin day two at 305/2.
The continued dominance of the bat over the ball in the QeA Trophy has concerned the PCB authorities as well. Speaking on commentary during Pakistan’s loss to Sri Lanka, CEO Wasim Khan said that they are trying to balance between bat and ball. What could they change midseason remains to be seen.