Lahore, 2 October 2023: The third round of the National U19 Championship was played in five cities - Karachi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot and Sargodha from 29 September to 1 October. The 18 teams involved in the tournament have been sorted in three groups. After the third round, Karachi U19 Whites are leading Group A after going unbeaten in the three matches played so far. For Group B, Peshawar U19 have secured the top spot, owing to a better NRR compared to Rawalpindi and Multan. Bahawalpur U19 are the most successful side in Group C, after winning two out of their three played games.
Karachi Whites stand at the top of the table for group A, after the completion of third round matches. They have attained the top spot after defeating Hyderabad in the third round contest being played at the UBL Sports Complex in Karachi. Karachi Whites, who won the game by an innings and 120 runs, succeeded on the back of centuries by Haroon Arshad (133, 146b, 19x4s, 2x6s) and Mirza Saad Baig (125, 128b, 13x4s, 3x6s). In the bowling department, Syed Tayyab Hussain and Abdul Moeez each bagged a four-wicket-haul in the first innings. Tayyab and Naveed Khan grabbed five wickets apiece in the second innings. Hyderabad, after the defeat, have been relegated to fifth position on the table.
AJK, who are only second to Karachi on the points table, defeated Quetta at the Oval Ground, Karachi, who have consequently dropped to the last position on the table. AJK’s victory came courtesy of half-centuries produced by Jahanzaib Ali Kiani (52, 66b, 7x4s) and Ali Abbas Khan (52, 89b, 7x4s, 1x6s) in the last innings. A century scored in the first innings by Quetta opening batter Ikram Ullah Khan Tareen (100, 125b, 11x4s, 3x6s) went in vain. Murtaza Ur Rehman’s five-wicket-haul and Azan Kabir’s four-wicket-haul greatly helped AJK’s cause as they won the game by six wickets.
Faisalabad are third on the table despite losing their last match against FATA, who now stand at the fourth position. In the match being played at the KCCA ground in Karachi, FATA’s Jamshed Ali, scoring 61 in 87 balls and hitting seven boundaries, was the highest scorer of the game, in a low-scoring game where none of the innings totals crossed 160. Mohammad Tahir, getting three wickets each in two innings, was the pick of the bowlers for FATA. Faisalabad’s Mohammad Usman hit an unbeaten half-century (60 not out, 127b, 6x4s) as FATA won by five wickets.
Peshawar currently top the points table for in group B at the conclusion of third round matches. Peshawar secured a win by an innings and 156 runs against Larkana at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad, on the back ofMohammad Zubair scoring 166 runs from 225 balls, including 12 boundaries. Najab Khan, who scored an unbeaten century (117 not out, 133b, 7x4s, 5x6s), was the second highest contributor with the bat. Ahmed Hussain – grabbing four wickets in the first innings and three wickets in the third – was the pick of the bowlers for Peshawar. Following this defeat, Larkana have dropped to the bottom of the table.
Rawalpindi are second on the table after beating Lahore Blues by 60 runs at the Saeed Ajmal Cricket Academy in Faisalabad. The latter have dropped to fifth place, as a result. Shahmeer Ali, who scored 84 runs from 117 balls, was the highest scorer in the game. His innings included eight boundaries and a six. Syed Ali Mehdy Raza grabbed six wickets and Mohammad Ilyas Akram grabbed five wickets, helping keep the Lahore Blues batter on their toes.
Multan and Islamabad are third and fourth on the table respectively, after the former defeated the latter by 96 runs at the Bohranwala Ground in Faisalabad. Half-centuries by Haseeb Nazim (84, 87b, 10x4s, 2x6s) and Rana Adeel Mushtaq (63, 76b, 7x4s, 2x6s) helped Multan secure a victory over Islamabad. Support by bowlers further helped; particularly, Moheer Saeed got six wickets in the last innings and three wickets earlier in the game.
Bahawalpur, after defeating Lahore Whites by an innings and 11 runs at the Rana Naveed Cricket Academy in Sheikhupura, reign on top of the table for group C. Hamza Nawaz’s century (127, 115b, 16x4s, 5x6s) helped the side greatly, taking them to a comfortable position. Mohammad Huzaifa registered a six-wicket-haul in the first innings and Mohammad Faizan registered a five-wicket-haul in the final innings, making the Lahore Whites’ batters struggle further to compete with the score put up by Bahawalpur batters.
After defeating DM Jamali by an innings and 17 runs at the Sports Stadium in Sargodha, Abbottabad have secured the second position on the points table. The century produced by Shahzaib Khan (110, 171b, 13x4s, 1x6) was the highest individual of the game. Razaullah, who took four wickets in the last innings and two wickets in the first innings, was the pick of the bowlers for his side. Khalid Khan’s half-century (72, 145b, 6x4s, 1x6) went in vain as DM Jamali folded for just 53 runs in their second batting innings. They now stand fifth on the table.
Sialkot defeated Karachi Blues by eight wickets at the Jinnah Stadium in Gujranwala. As a result, Sialkot and Karachi Blues occupy the third and fourth places on the table. Sialkot’s Azan Awais who scored (107, 180b, 8x4s, 1x6 and 58 not out, 48b, 5x4s, 1x6) in the match turned out to be the most prolific batter in the game. Ali Raza’s six-fer and Moosa Azeem’s four-fer helped Sialkot keep a rein on the Karachi batters. Hassan Khan’s 98 (259b, 7x4s) went in vain as the side lost the game after being enforced a follow-on.
Fourth round fixtures from 6 to 8 October:
Karachi Whites U19 v AJK U19 at UBL Sports Complex, Karachi
Faisalabad U19 v Hyderabad U19 at KCCA Stadium, Karachi
Quetta U19 v FATA U19 at Oval Ground, Karachi
Lahore Blues U19 v Multan U19 at Saeed Ajmal Academy, Faisalabad
Rawalpindi U19 v Larkana U19 at Bohranwala Ground, Faisalabad
Islamabad U19 v Peshawar U19 at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad
Abbottabad v Karachi Blues U19 at Jinnah Stadium, Gujranwala
Lahore Whites U19 v Sialkot U19 at Rana Naved ul Hasan Cricket Academy, Sheikhupura
Bahawalpur U19 v Dera Murad Jamali U19 at Sports Stadium, Sargodha