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Zafar Gohar heroics keep Central Punjab firmly on top of the points table
Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2019

Zafar Gohar heroics keep Central Punjab firmly on top of the points table

The sixth round of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy saw Central Punjab extend their strong grasp over the top position in the points table after clinching a resounding 204-win against Northern.

Several players stood out for their exceptional performances across the three fixtures as the other two games failed to yield a result.

Central Punjab vs Northern

Central Punjab rode on a sizzling spell of bowling from left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar, who finished with a match-haul of 11 for 133, to hand a heavy drubbing to last-placed Northern.

Zafar bagged career-best figures of 7-79 in the second innings as he scythed through the opposition while defending the steep target of 381.

Barring an aggressive fifty from Zeeshan Malik on the third day of the game, Northern offered little resistance with the bat in the second innings before being bundled out for 176.

Central Punjab off-spinner Bilal Asif claimed the other three wickets to fall, having acquired as many scalps in the first innings.

Earlier in the game, Nauman Ali had registered the best figures by a bowler this season by taking eight wickets for 71 runs in Central Punjab's total of 226 all out.

Nauman went for plenty in his subsequent outing as Rizwan Hussain starred with a sublime century and Umar Akmal smashed a 90-ball 73 to lead his team to 345-6 declared.

The Ahmed Shehzad-led Central Punjab's third win in the competition has taken their points tally to 98.

Balochistan vs Southern Punjab

Balochistan looked down and out at 44-5 in their second innings, still requiring a further 163 runs to erase the deficit, but a terrific century from Hussain Talat salvaged a draw for his team against Southern Punjab.

Talat stitched a remarkable 167-run stand with wicketkeeper Bismillah Khan, who amassed a patient 50 from 102 deliveries.

Talat's sensational 167-ball 136 was laced with 17 fours and four maximums as he brought up the maiden ton of his flourishing first-class career.

The southpaw's valiant batting effort kept the bowlers at bay and they reached 295 all out in diminishing visibility on the final day.

Only 2.3 overs of play were possible in the Southern Punjab chase before the two captains shook their hands and settled on a draw.

Talat had top-scored with 89 in the first innings for Balochistan and was involved in a 119-run partnership with his skipper Imran Farhat (65).

Southern Punjab had benefitted from Sami Aslam's prolific form in the tournament, which saw him rack up another century in the first innings.

Sami and fellow opener Umar Siddiq struck centuries while Adnan Akmal scored a brisk 80 helping the visitors post a mammoth 502 all out.

Sami, who made his last Test appearance for Pakistan in 2017, now boasts astonishing numbers of 645 runs in eight innings at an average of 129 during this edition of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Sindh

No play was possible on the third and fourth day of the first-class fixture at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium leading to a damp no-result.

The match was evenly poised with Sindh placed at 147-3 in reply to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's first-innings total of 288 all out.

Sindh's Sohail Khan picked up four wickets as he found sharp movement with the old ball while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa captain Sahibzada Farhan hit a fine half-century - his third 50-plus score in the last six innings.

In addition to the points awarded for a draw, both sides received bonus points on the basis of where the match was interrupted by rain.