LAHORE: On the fourth and final day of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2022-23's second round, Balochistan held Central Punjab to a tie at the Pindi Cricket Stadium thanks to heroic performances from Imam-ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq.
Balochistan began the day at 137 for one and were 213 runs behind Central Punjab’s mammoth 535 for six with Imam not out on 72. The left-handed opener converted his overnight score into his 10th first-class century before he was run out for 108. The 26-year-old smashed 13 fours in his 231-ball innings.
Following Imam’s dismissal, Asad, the Balochistan captain, took the lead role in the fightback and added 63 runs for the fifth wicket with Ali Waqas (25 off 64), depriving Central Punjab bowlers any further inroads. Asad was unbeaten on 62 off 140 balls and had dragged Balochistan to 303 for six in 118 overs at the close of play.
The other two games—between Sindh and the North at Faisalabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Southern Punjab at Abbottabad—also ended in draws.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Kamran Ghulam missed what could have been his second century in as many matches by 14 runs. The right-handed middle-order batter made 86 off 175 (10 fours and two sixes) before Ahmed Bashir curtailed his stay at the crease. Kamran began the fourth and final morning of the match at 41 not out.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were 275 for seven at the start of the day and were all out for 334. Southern Punjab were 101 for two in 44 over with opener Zain Abbas top-scoring with 32 off 51.
Pakistan Test teammates Nauman Ali, captain of Northern, and Fawad Alam, Sindh’s middle-order batter, scored half-centuries at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad.
Northern began the day on 363 for six and were all out on 417 with the highlight of the day being Nauman’s 123-ball 65 (nine fours and two sixes).
Starting the second innings with a 40-run lead, Sindh made 160 for four. They had their first three wickets down for 23, but Saad Khan and Fawad Alam, with 72 and 60 not out, respectively, ensured there were no further dramas and Sindh finish the match as a draw.
Northern – with 33 points – are at the top of the table, followed by Balochistan (30). Central Punjab have 28 points, Sindh 21, Southern Punjab 16 and the title defenders Khyber Pakhtunkhwa find themselves at the bottom with 13.