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Karachi Whites, Peshawar and Bahawalpur qualify for the triangular stage of the National U19 Championship

Lahore, 16 October 2023: The fifth round of the 18-team National U19 Championship 2023-24 was played in five cities of the country from 13 to 15 October. After the fifth round, Karachi Whites are comfortably on top of Group A with five wins in as many matches. In Group B, Peshawar reign at the top spot, due to a better NRR than Multan as the two sides both have three wins each. Owing to their four wins in five games, Bahawalpur remain the most successful side in Group C. Consequently, the three sides have qualified for the triangular stage of the championship, which will be played at Rana Naveed Stadium Sheikhupura, starting 29 October.

Group A

Karachi Whites top the table for group A after the fifth round of the National U19 Championship. They defeated third-placed Faisalabad by six wickets at Oval Ground, Karachi, owing to twin half-centuries by Haroon Arshad (70, 106, 11x4s and 78, 119b, 11x4s).

Faisalabad scored 123 runs in 36.1 overs in the first innings, largely limited by Baseer Shah’s six-fer in the innings. Karachi Whites responded with 219 runs scored in 64.3 overs. Haseeb Zafar grabbed a four-wicket-haul for Faisalabad in the innings.

Faisalabad then bettered on their efforts and posted 242 on the board after batting for 69.3 overs as Mohammad Abubakar Dar (59, 89b, 9x4s) scored a fighting half-century and Karachi’s Fahad Ameen grabbed four wickets. Karachi Whites chased the target in 44.3 overs; scoring 148 at the loss of six wickets only.  

FATA, who occupy the second position at the table, drew their match against the fifth-placed AJK at the Karachi City Cricket Association Ground. Jamshed Ali (105, 163b, 9x4s and 106, 122b, 9x4s) was the star performer, producing two centuries in the game.

Batting first, FATA posted 216 in 66 overs in the first innings; Murtaza ur Rehman returned with four wickets for AJK. In turn, AJK was dismissed cheaply for 135 runs in 64.3 overs with Abdullah Riaz’s undefeated half century (52 not out, 156b, 5x4s) remaining the highest score of the innings.

FATA then declared after mounting 294 runs in 68.4 overs, at the loss of seven wickets. Shahid Khan (49, 32b, 2x4s, 3x4s) and Khubaib Khalil (43, 63b, 2x4s, 1x6) complemented Haroon’s efforts while Ali Ishfaq returned with four wickets. AJK scored 151 in 70 overs and lost three wickets in the innings and the game was drawn.

At the United Bank Limited Sports Complex, Hyderabad defeated Quetta by nine wickets. The two sides occupy the third and the last place on the table respectively. Openers Syed Yahya Shah (103, 87b, 19x4s, 1x6 and 88 not out, 79b, 13x4s, 1x6s) and Zain ul Abidin (107, 125b, 13x4s, 3x6s and 41, 60b, 4x4s) dominated with the bat, ensuring that Hyderabad secure a win over Quetta.

Sumair Ahmed’s (84, 160b, 10x4s) efforts took Quetta to 193 in 70 overs as Sheeraz Khan grabbed four wickets in the innings. Hyderabad then replied by posting 368 in 74 overs; Sheeraz scored a half-century (68, 72b, 8x4s, 2x6s) after contributing with the ball in the first innings.

Quetta bettered on their first batting attempt by scoring 320 in 95.5 overs – Ikramullah Khan Tareen scored a century (120, 128b, 19x4s, 1x6) and Mohammad Siddiq scored a half-century (86, 166b, 10x4, 2x6s) while Mohammad Shaheer got four wickets to his name. Hyderabad chased the target in just 26.1 overs, scoring 148 at the loss of just one wicket.

Group B

Peshawar stand on top of the table after defeating Rawalpindi by an innings and 17 runs, at the Bohranwali Ground in Faisalabad. Rawalpindi stand second on the table. Mohammad Zulkifal (133, 149b, 14x4s, 4x6s) and Afkar Durani (113, 143b, 17x4s, 2x6s) were the high scorers for Peshawar.

In the first innings, Rawalpindi were bowled out for 156 runs in 53 overs; Mohammad Arshad got a half-century (55, 63b, 7x4s, 1x6) while Anees Khan grabbed a four-wicket-haul. Peshawar responded by posting 371 runs in 73.5 overs.

Rawalpindi began their second batting attempt trailing by 215 runs; the side could only get to 198 runs in 52.3 overs before getting dismissed. Syed Ali Mehdy Raza produced a fighting half-century, scoring 51 runs in 87 balls, including seven boundaries and a six. Shahab bagged a five-wicket-haul and Anees Khan once again returned with four wickets.  

At the Saeed Ajmal International Cricket Academy, Multan won against Larkana by 83 runs. Taha Shabbir (71 not out, 105b, 11x4s) helped take Multan to 251 in 65.3 overs in the first innings. In response, Larkana posted 193 in 57.5 overs; Shahzaib Aziz (77, 108b, 12x4s) and Anees Ahmed (55, 109b, 9x4s) shined with the bat and Mohammad Shahzad’s four-fer made him the pick of the bowlers.

Then, Multan declared their innings at 192 for seven on the board after batting for 50 overs; Haseeb Nazim’s (78, 107b, 12x4s, 1x6) was the highest score of the innings. Mohammad Shan, who got a six-fer in the last innings, was the hero for Multan as he helped bowl out Larkana for just 168 in 47.2 overs. Mohammad Hanan’s (50, 69b, 6x4s, 1x6) went in vain. Consequently, Multan and Larkana occupy the second and fourth spots on the table respectively.

Third-placed Islamabad defeated last-placed Lahore Blues by an innings and 69 runs at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad. Owing to magnificent batting by Raja Hamza Waheed (152, 167b, 17x4s, 4x6s), Shamyl Hussain (92, 105b, 10x4s, 3x6s) and Marwan (53, 82b,6x4s), Islamabad posted a mammoth 371 for nine in 75 overs, after which they declared the innings.

In turn, Lahore were bowled out for a measly 139 in 49.2 overs. Asim Nasir returned with six wickets as none of the Lahore batters survived on the creased long enough to make an impact. Mohammad Waseem Haider (39 not out, 28b, 4x4s, 1x6) was the highest scorer in the innings. Therein, a follow-on was enforced, with the side trailing by 232 runs. In their second batting attempt, Lahore managed 163 runs in 64.3 overs. Ali Zoraiz Asif’s half-century (62, 145b, 5x4s) was the only redeeming knock in the otherwise forgetful outing for the Lahore Blues, who end the championship without a single win to their name.

Group C

Bahawalpur defeated Karachi Blues Jamali by six wickets at Sports Stadium, Sargodha. Haseeb Ahmed (152, 145b, 20x4s, 2x6s) and Riyan Jibran (114 not out, 131b, 12x4s, 2x6s) were the top run-getters for the side as they secured a win to continue their dominance at the top of the table.

In the first innings, Karachi scored 237 in 72.1 overs on the back of Hassan Khan’s century (117, 185b, 15x4s, 2x6s). He was supported by Fawwad Shah (45, 77b, 5x4s). In response, Bahawalpur secured a massive first innings lead of 150 runs by declaring at 387 for four, which were scored in 75 overs.

Karachi Blues scored 157 in 53.5 overs, barely recovering the deficit. Hamza Qureshi (63, 160b, 5x4s) top-scored for the side while Mohammad Faizan, who got a five-fer to his name, was the pick of the bowlers in the innings. Bahawalpur chased the target in 0.4 overs.

After Abbottabad and Sialkot drew their match at the Rana Naveed Cricket Academy in Sheikhupura, they occupy the second and third spots on the table respectively. Sialkot declared after scoring 376 for eight in 75 overs; Mohammad Tayyab Arif (92, 111b, 13x4s, 1x6), Ahmed Hassan (67, 58b, 7x4s, 2x6s) and Moosa Azeem (65, 109b, 7x4s) contributed heftily with the bat. In response, Abbottabad scored 217 in 67.2 overs before getting dismissed. Adnan Saeed (49, 101b, 4x4s) was the top scorer in the innings.

In their second batting attempt, Sialkot scored 212 runs at the loss of seven wickets in 49.3 overs before they declared. Moosa (59 not out, 74b, 3x4s, 1x6) scored his second half-century in the game. In the last innings, Abbottabad scored seven runs at the loss of one wicket in the two overs they batted for, before the game was drawn.

At Jinnah Stadium Gujranwala, the match between Lahore Whites and Dera Murad Jamali was also drawn. Lahore were dismissed cheaply for 116 runs from 38.2 overs in the first innings. Zohaib Khan and Bakhtiyar Khan got three wickets each while Abubakr Waqas (37 not out, 30b, 2x4s, 3x6s) was the top-run getter of the innings. DM Jamali replied by posting 202 runs in 55.5 overs; Mohammad Yousaf (89, 140b, 11x4s, 2x6s) and Khalid Khan (54, 74b, 4x4s, 3x6s) were the notable performers with the bat, while Ubaid Shah, who got a five-fer, was the pick of the bowlers.

Lahore bettered significantly in their second batting attempt; they posted 224 for two in 85 overs. Waleed Zahid Bajwa (74 not out, 242, 2x4s, 1x6) and Ali Hasan Baloch (51, 104b, 3x4s, 2x6s) both registered half-centuries. The match was drawn with no definitive result on the cards. Lahore Whites end the season at the bottom of the table while DM Jamali occupy the fifth spot, with neither of the two getting a win during the championship.

The top-ranked side in each group has advanced to the triangular stage of championship. The first game of the triangular stage is set to commence on 29 October when Peshawar and Bahawalpur will be facing each other at the Rana Naveed Stadium, Sheikhupura.