LAHORE     -   It was a run-fest at the Bugti Stadium as Balochistan amassed 347 runs for the loss of four wickets against Southern Punjab on the opening day of their second four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match. Visiting captain Shan Masood would be ruing his decision to bowl first, without contesting the toss, after watching the home team finish Saturday’s play in a commanding position.

Centuries by opening batsman Azeem Ghumman and captain Imran Farhat shaped the day for the hosts as the pair stitched a 181-run stand for the third-wicket after slow left-arm Mohammad Irfan struck twice in an over to reduce Balochistan to 129 for two with the wickets of the opener Imran Butt (66) and Abu Bakar (0).

Imran Farhat, in particular, was in a menacing mood as he raced to his 35th first-class century. The 37-year-old left-handed batsman blasted 17 boundaries in his 118-ball 117 after occupying the crease for 183 minutes.

While his captain was going great guns at the other end, Azeem, not out on 143, went about his business steadily to complete his 10th century at this level. The 28-year-old right-hander has to date hit 14 fours in 253 deliveries during a 390-minute stay at the wicket. He was joined by Bismillah Khan (4 not out) when the stumps were drawn. Balochistan’s four wickets were equally shared by Irfan and paceman Bilawal Bhatti.

Omair Bin Yousuf unbeaten on 133

Omair Bin Yousuf struck his career’s third century and was unbeaten on 133 as Sindh were 254 for two when the stumps were drawn on the first day’s play in his side’s four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at the UBL Sports Complex in Karachi.

Playing his first first-class match this season, Yousuf hit 15 fours and two sixes in the 253 balls he faced. The 20-year-old opened the batting with Khurram Manzoor and the pair knitted a 130-run opening stand after Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s captain Sahibzada Farhan chose to bowl without contesting the toss.

Yousuf was accompanied by his captain Asad Shafiq – who was not out on 68 from 133 balls, which included five fours and a six – when 90 overs were completed for the day. The pair, to date, has put up 120 runs for the third wicket.

Khurram and Saad Ali, who scored 40 and one respectively, were the two wickets to fall on Saturday. Both batsmen were sent back to the pavilion by all-rounder Adil Amin’s off-spin.

Azhar, Kamran rescue

Central Punjab

Central Punjab were 369 for five against Northern, thanks to a 235-run stand between Azhar Ali and Kamran Akmal, when the stumps were drawn on the first day’s play of the four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match at Faisalabad’s Iqbal Stadium.

Coming together at the crease with the hosts on 134 for four, Test batsmen Azhar and Kamran weathered the storm with their centuries and put Central Punjab in a commanding position. Azhar, not out on 110, hit eight fours in the 204 balls he faced today. Wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran struck 12 fours and four sixes in his 170-ball 157 before getting stumped off Nauman Ali’s bowling on the third ball of the 88th over, which ended the day’s play.

Northern’s decision to bowl first without contesting the toss paid dividends immediately as Musa Khan’s two quick wickets in the first session had Central Punjab reeling at 85 for three at Lunch.

The 19-year-old struck again in the day and brought a promising 52-run fourth-wicket partnership between Azhar and Saad Nasim (31) to an end. Raza Hasan and Nauman, both left-arm spinners, were the other two bowlers to tick the wickets’ column by bagging a wicket each.

BRIEF SCORES:

Balochistan 347-4, 84 overs (Azeem Ghumman 143 not out, Imran Farhat 117, Imran Butt 66; Bilawal Bhatti 2-65, Mohammad Irfan 2-71) Southern Punjab

Sindh 254-2, 90 overs (Omair Bin Yousuf 133 not out, Asad Shafiq 68 not out, Khurram Manzoor 40; Adil Amin 2-31) vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Central Punjab 369-5, 87.3 overs (Kamran Akmal 157, Azhar Ali 110, Saad Nasim 31, Rizwan Hussain, 30, Salman Butt 22; Musa Khan 3-57) vs Northern