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Lahore, 20 November 2022: Sindh made a formidable start to their bid of reaching the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2022-23 final courtesy centuries by Khurram Manzoor and captain Saud Shakeel on the opening day of their tenth round tie against Balochistan at the LCCA Ground, Lahore on Sunday.
Southern Punjab also made an explosive start in search of their first win of the season with Zeeshan Ashraf scoring a blazing century against Central Punjab at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore while table-toppers Northern were sent packing for 223 against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at the Shoaib Akhtar Stadium, Rawalpindi.
Sindh who are currently number two in the points table did their chances of securing a final’s berth no harm by a powerful batting performance on day-one against Balochistan after opting to bat first. Seasoned opener Khurram led the way with an unbeaten 174 off 258 balls (24 fours, one six) – his third century of the season. After a 70-run opening stand with Saim Ayub (41), Khurram was joined by his captain Saud.
The two took control of the proceedings and dominated the Balochistan bowlers with an unbroken 279-run alliance for the second-wicket. Saud scored his fourth century of the ongoing season, the stylish left-hander was batting on 124 off 159 balls (13 fours, one six) when stumps were drawn for the day – Sindh ended the day at 349 for one (75 overs).
Southern Punjab made Central Punjab pay for their decision to field first at the Gaddafi Stadium. Left-handed opener Zeeshan Ashraf scored a scintillating 145 off 230 balls (22 fours, three sixes) to lead the way. Imran Rafiq was batting on 58 off 131 balls (eight fours, one six) when play was called-off in the 75th over due to bad light.
Zeeshan and Imran added 140 runs for the third-wicket. Southern Punjab were 270 for three at close of play. Central Punjab who are searching for a bagful of points in order to reach the final would need to claw back into contention tomorrow by bowling out their opponents for a manageable first innings score before potentially recovering the initiative with the bat.
Northern had a poor start to their match against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at the Shoaib Akhtar Stadium as they were bowled out for 223 after being asked to bat first. Wicketkeeper-batter Rohail Nazir held the innings together with 82 off 158 balls (seven fours, one six). All-rounders Mubasir Khan and Aamir Jamal contributed 31 runs each.
Ihsanullah took four while Niaz Khan took three wickets. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were six for one when stumps were drawn for the day.
Scores in brief:
Sindh won the toss and opted to bat against Balochistan at the LCCA Ground, Lahore
Sindh 349 for 1, 75 overs (Khurram Manzoor 174 not out, Saud Shakeel 124 not out; Kashif Bhatti 1-82)
Toss uncontested – Central Punjab chose to field against Southern Punjab at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
Southern Punjab 270 for 3, 74.3 overs (Zeeshan Ashraf 145, Imran Rafiq 58 not out; Mohammad Saad 1-15)
Toss uncontested – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chose to field against Northern at the Shoaib Akhtar Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi
Northern 223 all out, 72.3 overs (Rohail Nazir 82, Mubasir Khan 31; Ihsanullah 4-41, Niaz Khan 3-59)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 6 for 1, tw0 overs