Quaid-e-Azam Trophy got off to a brilliant start with all three first round matches finishing with a result. Cricket fans witnessed some high-quality cricket from all the teams and some brilliant individual performances from top class players.
Southern Punjab beat Northern convincingly by an innings and 96 runs. Northern were bowled out for just 165 in the first innings and in reply, Southern Punjab scored 507/9 before declaring their innings. Northern were then bowled out for 246 in the second innings, resulting in an innings defeat and handing maximum points to Southern Punjab.
Balochistan faced off against the recently crowned National T20 Cup champions, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, beating them by 186 runs and claiming the second spot on the table.
Sindh and Central Punjab faced off in a thriller at National Stadium Karachi. Sindh beat Central Punjab by 6 wickets with only 38 balls to spare. Sindh managed to chase down a target of 212 runs within 50 overs after Central Punjab captain, Azhar Ali, declared their innings on 243 for seven in the second session on the last day. Sindh claimed the third spot in the table with 22 points thanks to their fascinating chase.
First round matches witnessed some excellent individual performances as well, with batsman scoring hard-fought runs and bowlers bamboozling the batsmen with their accurate line and length.
These are the best performers in the first round of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy:
Hussain Talat (Southern Punjab)
Southern Punjab’s top-order batsman scored the first double century of the tournament. Talat scored a brilliant knock of 253 off 310 balls to guide his team towards the victory. Talat has been in impressive form, scoring heavily in the National T20 Cup and translating that form into the longer format.
Shan Masood (Southern Punjab)
Southern Punjab’s captain scored his first century of the tournament as well, scoring 153 runs in his team’s dismantling of Northern in the first round.
Bismillah Khan (Balochistan)
Bismillah has been highly revered in the domestic circuit and he has finally been able to transform his talent into runs. He scored a cautious knock of 118 in Balochistan’s match against KPK and led his team to victory.
Fawad Alam (Sindh)
Fawad scored his 35th first-class century in the match against Central Punjab. Fawad answered his critics with a brilliant innings of 115 on a difficult batting pitch and set the tone for Sindh to claim the victory.
Zahid Mehmood (Southern Punjab)
A lot of cricket experts were baffled by the chief selector’s decision to not select Zahid in the national team. Zahid showcased his talent with the ball once again, picking up 6 wickets in the second innings and a 10 wicket haul in the match. Surely, he’s knocking on the national team’s door now.
Tabish Khan (Sindh)
The 35-year-old fast bowler has been one of the leading wicket-takers in the domestic circuit. Despite all his performances, he hasn’t represented the national team yet. Tabish put in a wonderful bowling display yet again, picking up a five-wicket haul in the first innings and helping Sindh to a victory.
Khurram Shehzad (Balochistan)
Fast bowler, Khurram Shehzad, has been impressive in recent times as he showed his worth with a five-wicket haul in the first innings against KPK. Finishing with figures of 27/5 in 10 overs, Khurram helped his side to an easy win.
Sajid Khan (KPK)
27-year-old off-spinner, Sajid Khan, has been relatively unknown in the domestic circuit, but he made a name for himself with a brilliant bowling display against Balochistan, picking up five wickets in the first innings.