KARACHI: Rawalpindi ran up a mammoth score of 601 runs in their first innings, on the final day of their second-round, four-day Group B 50th Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Cricket Championship match against Abbottabad, at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium on Tuesday. This gave them an advantage of 225 runs over their opponents, but the match ended in a tame draw.
Rawalpindi gained the three first innings lead points though that took their tally to 12 points. They are placed at number two behind Islamabad, who have the full 18 points from two appearances, in the 11-team Group B ranking.
After Abbottabad had scored an impressive 376 runs in their first innings, Rawalpindi replied with 352 for four by the close of play on Monday’s third day. Getting the lead was just a matter of time.
The partnership that boosted Rawalpindi’s total was one of 256 runs for the fifth wicket. This came after the team had slipped to just 106 for four. The 21-year-old Usman Saeed top-scored with a magnificent 243, that came off 471 balls in two minutes above 10 hours with the help of 30 fours and two sixes.
Usman played for the champion Pakistan team in the 2004 Under-19s World Cup held in Bangladesh. The double-hundred yesterday was, however, only his third three-figure score in a 34-match first-class career.
More interesting were the 129 runs made by his fifth-wicket partner Yasir Ali, who did so off 285 deliveries in five minutes short of six hours with 14 fours and three sixes. Yasir, still only 22, played in a Test match for Pakistan four years ago even before he had made his first-class debut. Basically a right-arm fast-medium bowler, he has attained his career’s first century, his previous highest of 63 being his only score of fifty plus.
Usman’s sixth-wicket stand with skipper Naved Ashraf (23) was worth 54 runs while wicket-keeper Zahid Mansoor (47) joined him to add another 132 runs for the seventh wicket. The match in Abbottabad started a day late on Saturday instead of Friday, as the original venue — the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi — was not available due to repairs.
Rawalpindi now meet top of the table Islamabad in a third-round Group B match, starting at the Diamond Cricket Club Ground in Islamabad from Thursday (tomorrow). Abbottabad have a rest until the fourth round.
Scores: Abbottabad 376 in 120.4 overs (Wajid Ali 75, Fawad Khan 73, Junaid Khan 71; Mohammad Ayaz 4-99). Rawalpindi 601 in 213.4 overs (Mohammad Ibrahim 45, Usman Saeed 243, Yasir Ali 129, Zahid Mansoor 47).