Monday, December 5, 2022

PCB: Sindh on the charge as Quaid-e-Azam Trophy enters eighth round

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  • Click here for complete Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2022-23 details and updates
  • Actions photos will be available here; please credit @PCB; Official hashtag is #QeAT
  • Stats pack attached here

The seventh round of Quaid-e-Azam Trophy saw Sindh bag their third win of the season as they rolled over Southern Punjab by 202 runs. Sindh’s previous two victories have been achieved by a 10-wicket margin.

The last round’s win has further consolidated Sindh’s position in the points table. They currently sit at the second spot and are just seven points away from top-ranked Northern. With only three more league matches remaining, Sindh now have a solid chance of securing a berth in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final for the first time since the revamp of the domestic structure ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Captained by Saud Shakeel, Sindh play Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who continue to have a poor season after winning the last two titles and languish as the bottom-ranked side with four losses in seven matches, at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in the eighth round, which commences tomorrow.

Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa faced off in the fourth round with the former recording their first win of the season and that is when their campaign kicked off. Sindh will be eager to ensure that the result of their second meeting with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the same as the first one.

The Pakistan Cricket Board’s YouTube channel will live stream the contest produced through High-Definition cameras.

In the other two matches of the round, Northern play Central Punjab at the LCCA Ground in Lahore and Southern Punjab travel up north to face off Balochistan at the beautiful Abbottabad Cricket Stadium.

Northern are the only other team this season to have bagged three wins. Their last two matches have ended in draws and if recent history is any indicator, their upcoming match promises to end with the two sides sharing points as Central Punjab’s all seven matches have been draws.

Southern Punjab are ranked fifth in the points table as their seven matches have produced two defeats and five draws. They are up against Balochistan, who have won and lost two each. While Southern Punjab suffered a defeat in their most recent match and their previous two matches ended as draws, Balochistan have had a mixed bag of results – a draw in the most recent, a win in the second last, and a defeat in the match before.

Top performers

Abdullah Shafique of Central Punjab regained the title of the leading run-scorer of the season during his first-innings 99 against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at the LCCA Ground. He now has 636 runs at 70.67.

Balochistan captain Asad Shafiq, after scoring a century, follows him on the chart with 604 runs at 54.91. These two are the only players with more than 600 runs in the competition.

Southern Punjab’s Usman Salahuddin and Central Punjab’s Azhar Ali are locked at the third spot with 598 runs each. While Usman averages 54.36, experienced Test cricketer Azhar has the best average amongst the top 10 run-getters as he scores an impressive 85.43 runs per dismissal.

Abrar Ahmed (of course, who else?) leads the table of the bowlers with most wickets this season. The Sindh mystery spinner has accumulated 40 wickets in just five matches. He recorded his best figures of the season in the last match (six for 61) and now has five five-wicket hauls.

Mohammad Ali of Central Punjab follows with 24 wickets at 25.54, while Abrar’s teammate Muhammad Umar is on the third spot with 23 scalps at an average of 27.39

Cricket Associations Championship 2022-23

Balochistan’s match against Southern Punjab will be staged at Quetta’s Bugti Stadium while the Northern v Central Punjab and Sindh v Khyber Pakhtunkhwa contests will be held at the NBP Sports Complex and UBL Sports Complex stadiums in Karachi respectively in the eighth round of the four-day non first-class Cricket Associations Championship.

Central Punjab sit comfortably at the top of the table with 133 points, 40 points clear of second-placed Southern Punjab, having claimed five wins out of seven games. Sindh are third with three wins and 91 points whereas Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are just behind on 86 points. Northern and Balochistan both have a tally of 84 points, but the former rank ahead courtesy of a superior net run-rate.

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