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QEA Roundup: Central Punjab extend lead with a big win

Zafar Gohar’s sevenfer leads Central Punjab to a commanding 204-run victory over Northern in the 6th round of QEA matches. The win stretched their lead to 98 points, opening up a gap of 25 points from second-placed Southern Punjab. An inspired performance from Hussain Talat helped Balochistan hang on for the draw against SP, while the 3rd match between Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ended in a draw after two days were rained off.

In Faisalabad, Zafar Gohar condemned Northern to their 2nd defeat of the season. Needing to bat out the day, Northern were bowled out for 176 in 56 overs. Zeeshan Malik top-scored with 52, but none of the other batsmen were able to put up any resistance. For CP, it was a good outing for Umer Akmal, scoring fifties in both innings. Islamabad United’s Rizwan Hussain showed his class with an entertaining 110 of 123 balls in the 2nd innings. However, the stand out performances from both sides came from two left-arm spinners. Both Zafar Gohar and Nauman Ali finished with 11 wickets in the match, but with the support of his team’s batsmen, Gohar ended on the winning side.

QEA Trophy Roundup: Sarfaraz, Tabish Khan help Sindh escape with a draw

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Southern Punjab would have gone in hoping to cut down the gap between them and league leaders CP, however, a spirited century from Hussain Talat, meant that Balochistan hung on for a draw despite having been behind the game for three days. Following, defeat looked inevitable as the Balochistan top 5 wickets fell for 44. However, Hussain Talat and Bismillah Khan started the resistance, playing attacking cricket. The Islamabad United all-rounder was particularly severe against the left-arm spin of Mohammad Irfan, peppering the mid-wicket to mid-on region. He was dismissed ultimately by Rahat Ali, who bagged a five-wicket haul. Needing 83 in 13 overs, SP started their chase but could only bat 2.3 overs due to bad light. Earlier Sami Aslam (168) and Umar Siddiq (130) laid the foundation for an SP onslaught with a 283 opening partnership. Mohammad Asghar and Amad Butt picked up 5 and 4 wickets, respectively. In Balochistan’s 1st innings, Hussain Talat was just missed out on a hundred. For SP, Umaid Asif picked up a fifer in the 1st innings but eventually due Talat’s heroics, it ended all square.

The 3rd match of the sixth round also ended in a draw after the last two days of the match were rained off. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa batted 1st and scored 288 runs. Sahibzada Farhan top scored with 88 runs, while Rehan Afridi chipped in with 57. Sohail Khan impressed with four wickets for Sindh. In response, Sindh could only face 35 overs scoring 147/3 with Omair Yousuf scoring a fifty.

The next round of fixtures begins from the 11th of November.

Asjad Khan

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