Ashfaq Ahmed scored his fifth first-class century as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) took early control of their four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy clash against Northern in Abbottabad on Saturday.
At the close of play on the opening day at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium, KP were strongly placed at 343 for the loss of 4 wickets. Captain Muhammad Rizwan batted on 84 not out and with him was Adil Amin on 49, with the pair adding 91 runs for the unbroken fifth wicket stand.
Rizwan also is looking to pass the three-figure mark on Sunday. He has so far hit 12 fours and a six in his 152-minute innings. Adil’s unbeaten 49 was laced with six boundaries.
There was no need for a coin toss as the visiting Northern captain Imad Wasim opted to bowl first. The match started after a delay of 15 minutes because of a wet square. However, no overs were lost.
Ashfaq began the new first-class cricket season with 106, hitting 14 fours and a six in his 174-ball knock. Earlier, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s other batsmen failed to convert good starts into big scores. The hard-hitting left-handed opener Fakhar Zaman was aggressive early on — hitting six fours in his 38-ball 33 — but could not kick on. Sahibzada Farhan also looked good for his 29, while Iftikhar Ahmed was run out for 35.
Imad, who used six bowlers, finished the day with 1-44. Sadaf Hussain (1-58) and Musa Khan (1-65) were the other successful bowlers. A minute’s silence was observed in memory of Pakistan’s leg-spinning legend Abdul Qadir before the start of the proceedings. Scores in brief: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (first innings) 343-4, 90 overs (Ashfaq Ahmed 106, Muhammad Rizwan 84 not out, Adil Amin 49 not out; Imad Wasim 1-44, Sadaf Hussain 1-58, Musa Khan 1-65) vs Northern.
It was the attraction of watching Pakistan’s stylish batsman Babar Azam bat which brought fans to Mujahid to Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium on Saturday. Mujahid Saleem is amongst a strong contingent of young cricket fans who have turned out to watch the cream of Pakistan first-class cricket compete. To bridge the gap between the cricketers and their fans, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has opened the gates of the venues, staging Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, for the fans to watch their stars up-close.
“I have only come here to watch Babar Azam bat,” says Mujahid, a resident of Rawalpindi who is based in Murdike these days. “I want to click a selfie with him. He is the best player in international cricket at the moment.” “This is a brilliant gesture by the PCB to open the gates for the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.—Agencies