KARACHI: Test cricketer Iftikhar Ahmed scored a patient 71 not out to enable former champions Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) to reach 215-6 in their first innings against WAPDA on the opening day of the five-day final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy here at National Stadium on Thursday.
At one stage, SNGPL were reeling at 94-4, but Iftikhar shared an 89-run stand for the fifth wicket with international stumper Mohammad Rizwan (42) to bring stability to the innings on a pitch which was not difficult to bat on.
Rizwan, who was dropped by stumper Kamran Akmal off the bowling of off-spinner Zahid Mansoor when on 39, smashed four fours in his 77-ball innings before being removed by left-arm Test pacer Wahab Riaz.
It was a short-pitched delivery, Rizwan went for a pull but failed to time it properly and Khushdil Shah made no mistake in holding an easy catch at deep square-leg.Imran Khalid (4) then joined the 27-year-old Iftikhar but the former also threw his wicket when he played a needless stroke off the bowling of Zahid to leave SNGPL at 190-6 in the 74th over.
Zahid tossed it up, it slightly turned, the left-hander wanted to hit it over mid-on, but failed to time it properly and it went to mid-off where Waqas Maqsood took a simple catch.Yasir Shah (11*) then provided good support to Iftikhar, negotiating well the new ball taken in the 81st over.
Yasir hit one four in his 42-ball unbeaten effort. When 84.1 overs were bowled the day’s play was ended due to bad light.Peshawar-born Iftikhar, who has played one Test for Pakistan against England, hammered eight fours and two successive sixes off the bowling of left-arm spinner Khalid Usman. He faced 140 balls during his 210-minute stay at the crease.
After being asked to bat first, when WAPDA’s skipper Salman Butt won the toss, SNGPL had a disastrous start.Left-arm pacer Waqas bowled skipper Mohammad Hafeez (12) with a brilliant delivery that cut back to the right hander.
Hafeez hit two fours from 38 balls. Soon afterwards, Wahab got rid of former Pakistan captain Azhar Ali, who was held by keeper Kamran. Azhar went for a glance to a leg-side delivery, got a thick edge and was caught by the keeper.
Azhar hit one four from 36 balls. SNGPL were tottering at 22-2. Khurram Shehzad (29) and Pakistan’s solid Test player Asad Shafiq (23) tried their best to resurrect the innings, sharing 58 for the third wicket.Test pacer Mohammad Asif broke the partnership when he had Asad held by Aamer Sajjad in the slips. The right-hander chased a delivery which was going away from him.
Asad, who also had a chance, struck three fours from 70 balls. Wahab struck again when he found Khurram in front of the wicket off a delivery that pitched on the middle. The right hander came forward and took it on his pad. The umpire had no hesitation in giving him out.
Khurram, who has had a fine season with the bat, hammered three fours and a six in his 87-ball sojourn at the crease. SNGPL were 50-2 at lunch, and 149-4 at tea.
Wahab was impressive with the ball, picking 3-50 in 19.1 overs. Asif, Waqas and Zahid got one wicket each.Ahsan Reza and Khalid Mehmood Senior are supervising the match. Ahmed Shahab is the television umpire, Aaley Haider the reserve umpire and Iftikhar Ahmed the match referee.
WAPDA won toss
*M Hafeez b Waqas 12
A Ali c Kamran b Wahab 9
K Shehzad lbw b Wahab 29
A Shafiq c Aamer b Asif 23
I Ahmed not out 71
†M Rizwan c Khushdil b Wahab 42
I Khalid c Waqas b Zahid 4
Y Shah not out 11
Extras (b 1, lb 8, nb 2, w 3) 14
Total (6 wickets; 84.1 Overs) 215
To bat: S Khan, Azizullah, M Abbas
Fall: 1-16, 2-22, 3-80, 4-94, 5-183, 6-190
Bowling: Asif 20-8-35-1; Waqas 20-7-42-1; Khalid 10-2-44-0; Wahab 19.1-3-50-3; Adnan 5-1-12-0; Zahid 9-1-22-1; Khushdil 1-0-1-0
*S Butt, Z Mansoor, A Raees, M Saad, A Sajjad, †K Akmal, K Shah, K Usman, W Maqsood, W Riaz, M Asif
Umpires: Ahsan Raza and Khalid Mahmood. TV Umpires: Ahmed Shahab. Match Referee: Iftikhar Ahmed