KARACHI: In perhaps one of the worst fielding results seen in living memory, on day one of their eighth-round Quaid-e-Azam Trophy fixture here at the National Stadium on Monday, bottom-placed Sindh put up a horrific display against Northern.
Batsmen were on top in the other two games as Kamran Ghulam continued his Bradmanesque-like style with another century for table-toppers Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the 25-year-third old’s in as many games, while young opener Ali Zaryab had the distinction of scoring the first hundred in the ongoing first-class championship of Central Punjab.
After Nauman Ali decided to bat first in the TV game at the National Stadium, Northern may not have even crossed a three-figure total, but the generosity of the Sindh fielders played a key role in helping them to cross 203 all out after the opening session produced the first instance of a side losing five wickets before lunch this season at the National Stadium on the first day.
In reality, at 51 before Mohammad Nawaz and first-class debutant Mubashir Khan brought the score to 71 at the interval, Northern’s fifth wicket, that of discarded Pakistan all-rounder Hammad Azam to Azizullah, went down.
As no fewer than seven chances were not admitted, Sindh were incredibly careless with their catching. As was the improvised wicket-keeper Shehzar Mohammad, Captain Asad Shafiq was guilty of spilling at least two catches while left-armer Mir Hamza bowled a fantasy new-ball spell upfront as he dismissed in that order Nasir Nawaz (16), Umar Amin (3) and Sarmad Bhatti (6).
With his 128-ball knock featuring 10 boundaries, Nawaz rode his luck very well to hit 79, while Mubashir made a 69-ball 26 as the two added 59 for the sixth wicket before the newcomer struggled to read a googly from Abrar Ahmed and got himself stuck in front. As he helped Nawaz put on 54 for the seventh wicket, Wicket-keeper Jamal Anwar scored 51 from 72 deliveries.
Fellow pacemen Azizullah and the hard-working Shahnawaz Dhani both took three wickets each, though Hamza did not add to his tally of wickets.
When the young opener unwisely pulled Waqas Ahmed down the throat of Shadab Majeed at midwicket, Sindh lost Omair Bin Yousuf (3) in unnecessary fashion, but Sharjeel Khan (32) played some delightful strokes to help his side close at 40-1.
Kamran hammered an unbeaten 145 after scoring 153 and 166 in the previous two encounters, the right-seventh hander’s hundred in first-class cricket, to raise Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to a commanding 296-3 after Khalid Usman decided to bat at the UBL Sports Complex against Southern Punjab.
As Musadiq Ahmed dropped leg-before-wicket to Aamir Yamin’s very first delivery of the match, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa got an early jolt. As the Pakistan left-hander was stumped off spinning all-rounder Agha Salman for 15, Fakhar Zaman also struggled to get moving.
Kamran, who had reached 37-2 in the centre, then saw Israrullah leave for 49 with a team score of 85, to Zahid Mahmood’s leg-spinner.
That was the last celebration for Southern Punjab, however as Kamran and Adil Amin, who joined to share an unbroken partnership of 211, belonged entirely for the next 232 minutes. During his 249-ball knock, Kamran has so far hit 19 fours and one six while also becoming this season’s first batsman to cross the 800-run mark. Six fours and a brace of sixes include Adil’s 172-ball 76.
After skipper Hasan Ali elected to bat at the SBP Sports Complex in the toss against Balochistan, 21-year-old Ali Zaryab was the mainstay for Central Punjab. Though hitting 18 boundaries and a six during his second first-class hundred, the left-hander slammed a career-best 117 from 178 balls.
Central Punjab posted a healthy 297-6 in their first innings, thanks chiefly to Ali’s efforts. For the second wicket with Ali, Usman Salahuddin contributed 73 while putting on 165. Mohammad Saad played well in order to make 45, too.
Slow left-armer Jalat Khan caught three wickets in 31 overs for 92 runs.
Monday’s close of play scores (day one of four):
First XI, 8th round:
NORTHERN 203 in 68.2 overs (Mohammad Nawaz 79, Jamal Anwar 51, Mubashir Khan 26; Azizullah 3-48, Shahnawaz Dhani 3-49, Mir Hamza 3-52); SINDH 40-1 in 11 overs, Karachi National Stadium: (Sharjeel Khan 32 not out).
At UBL Sports Complex, Karachi: KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 296-3 in 96 overs (Kamran Ghulam 145 not out, Adil Amin 76 not out, Israrullah 49) vs SOUTHERN PUNJAB.
At SBP Sports Complex, Karachi: CENTRAL PUNJAB 297-6 in 90 overs (Ali Zaryab 117, Usman Salahuddin 73, Mohammad Saad 45, Ali Shan 28 not out; Jalat Khan 3-92, Raza-ul-Hasan 2-62) vs BALOCHISTAN.