Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have one hand on the prestigious Quaid-e-Azam Trophy after a commanding performance on day-four of the five-day, day-night final of the 2021-22 edition at the National Stadium, Karachi on Tuesday.
After winning the first innings points race besides a 118-run lead, the Iftikhar Ahmed-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reached 152 for five at close of play in their second innings, an overall advantage of 270 runs with five second wickets in hand.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were in a spot of bother at dinner at 69 for four. In the final session of play, they lost the wicket of Asif Afridi after a dogged 60-ball 15. But an unbroken 49-run sixth-wicket stand between captain Iftikhar Ahmed (20 not out) and wicketkeeper Rehan Afridi (42 not out, 61 balls, five fours, one six) took Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to a formidable position by close of play.
Earlier, eleven wickets fell in the first two sessions on Tuesday. After losing four wickets in relatively quick succession before the tea break, Northern lost three more in a jiffy after the break, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lost their first four till the dinner break with Fakhar Zaman blazing away with 50 off 53 balls (nine fours, one six) before falling to pacer Musa Khan minutes before the end of the session.
Northern took tea at 255 for seven after resuming their first innings at 184 for three. Despite losing Sarmad Bhatti for 57 (157 balls, three fours) Northern were well placed at 220 for three before a sensational spell on the eve of the tea break by Mohammad Wasim Jnr turned the match on its head.
The Waziristan-born pacer took three wickets in the space of 10 balls to leave Northern reeling, Wasim dismissed Faizan Riaz (30) and Mubasir Khan (0) in the same over before getting rid of Rohail Nazir courtesy an outstanding catch in the slips by Kamran Ghulam.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s stunning afternoon continued post tea-break as Northern folded for an addition of a mere one-run. They were bowled out for 256 in 83.2 overs handing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa a 118-run first innings lead and more importantly four bowling points.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa collected a total of seven first innings points while Northern had to settle for four, if the match ends in a draw on day-five (tomorrow), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be declared winners due to their higher first innings points tally.
Northern need an outright win to secure the trophy.
Scores in brief:
- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 374 all out, 118.2 overs (Iftikhar Ahmed 102, Kamran Ghulam 72, Asif Afridi 68; Mubasir Khan 4-52, Waqas Ahmed 3-94) and 152 for 5, 54 overs (Fakhar Zaman 50, Rehan Afridi 42 not out; Musa Khan 2-37)
- Northern 256 all out, 83.2 overs (Haider Ali 81, Sarmad Bhatti 57, Mohammad Huraira 51; Sajid Khan 4-54, Mohammad Wasim Jnr 4-65)
- First innings points: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Seven. Northern – Four.
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