The first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy continues to produce enthralling red-ball action as the up and coming players, who received promotions in the First XI sides after 34 top players left for New Zealand to represent Pakistan and Pakistan Shaheens, lived up to the expectations and made a mark in the fourth round matches.
The competition has Thursday (today) entered the fifth round, which provides further opportunity to the domestic cricketers to make an impression.
Southern Punjab continue to lead the points table after they put up a strong fight against Sindh to secure a draw at the National Stadium thanks to a brilliant rearguard effort led by Saif Badar.
Southern Punjab gained nine points from the contest and are eager to continue their domination in the six-team tournament as they play the first Punjab Derby of the season, staged at the UBL Sports Complex.
Central Punjab, who are facing Southern Punjab, are the only side without any win this season. The title defenders are languishing at the bottom of the points table with three losses in four matches.
Their pace-bowling stocks are reinvigorated with the return of Hasan Ali. Central Punjab have made two more changes as they have promoted Mohammad Ikhlaq and Zubair Khan from the Second XI. Ehsan Adil and Rizwan Hussain make way for them.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa jumped two places to the third spot after securing as many as 23 points, following an outstanding win against Central Punjab. Their victory was staged on the back of a valiant 92 not out by Khalid Usman, in the first innings, and spinner Sajid Khan’s 10-fer.
Northern and Balochistan, ranked second and fourth, played out a thrilling draw. There was silver lining for the both sides as Balochistan’s Azeem Ghumman, promoted from the Second XI, registered two nineties and Umar Amin stroked a second innings century which helped Northern jump back on the final day to secure a draw.