Raees blows Lahore Whites at home
Having gained prominence through limited-overs cricket, Rumman Raees continues to grow in the longer format, too. He ended this round with remarkable innings figures of 9 for 25 for United Bank Limited against Lahore Whites, the second-best in the history of first-class cricket in Pakistan. His nine-for bundled out Lahore Whites for 88, giving UBL an innings-and-122-run win and he ended the match with returns of 11 for 80. Raees had made his first-class debut in the 2010-11 season and his previous best innings figures were 7 for 31 in the 2013-14 season.
Junaid Khan finds his form
Junaid Khan has had a tough road back to international cricket after nearly two years out of the Pakistan side. A knee injury affected his rhythm and pace, and in the two years since he was dropped from the side, at the start of the 2015-16 domestic season, he has played only five Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches in two seasons. He was axed from the contracts list in 2016 and aimed to come back in limited-overs cricket. The Pakistan selectors, however, expected him to win back his place by pushing hard in domestic cricket, particularly first-class cricket.
Mohammad Irfan’s unavailability against Australia earlier this year, following the death of his mother, allowed Junaid to come back into the team and he made his come back in the ODIs on the tour. At the time, Junaid had six wickets in seven games in the Departmental One Day Cup and had taken 4 for 31 for Peshawar in the Regional One Day Cup. Since his comeback he hasn’t lost his place in Pakistan’s limited-overs side and has also regained his contract but his return in the longer format is still uncertain.
The performances in this season’s QEA will give him hope. In his second game for Habib Bank, the left-arm quick took a five-for in the first innings to crush Rawalpindi for 102 and then took three wickets in the second innings to set up Habib Bank’s crushing innings-and-65-run victory within two days. He will soon join the ODI team for the series against Sri Lanka in the UAE.
PTV’s maiden victory in the season
Pakistan TV regained their first-class status earlier this year, after winning the Patron’s Trophy Grade-II with a win over Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited in the final. Before this season’s QEA, they last played first-class cricket in 2014 and were relegated from the first-class circuit after finishing last among the department teams. They made their maiden first-class appearance in 2010 but missed the 2011 and 2012 editions of the tournament before returning again in 2013 and 2014. They began this season with a defeat to Lahore Whites but bounced back in the second round. A PTV XI with two debutants – Hasan Mohsin and Athar Mahmood – beat Karachi Whites by five wickets.
Lahore Blues secure sole regional success
As departments thrashed regions all around them, Lahore Blues were determined not to let National Bank of Pakistan secure an unbeaten round for the departments. The Blues beat National Bank – by an innings and four runs – in a thoroughly clinical performance. Raza Ali Dar, who made half-centuries in his last three first class games, top-scored with a first-innings 87, while Blues captain Saad Nasim and all-rounder Bilawal Iqbal began what was a two-man rout in Rawalpindi. Each of them scored half-centuries as their side put on 359, before combining to take 18 of the opposition’s 20 wickets, skittling them out for 154 and 201 to ensure their side wouldn’t have to bat again. It is just the second victory for the regions in the tournament so far, but for Nasim – who has played three ODIs and three T20Is for Pakistan – and Bilawal, it ensures the attention domestic cricketers in Pakistan so hungrily seek.
Sui Southern Gas Corporation – led by Fawad Alam – handed Peshawar a 337-run drubbing as the two sides took up positions on opposite ends of the table in Pool A.
Even though Fawad himself had a game to forget, scoring 18 and 7 and failing to grab a wicket in the six overs he bowled, his fellow internationals shone. Aamer Yamin scored 99 in the first innings, while Umar Amin struck a second-innings hundred as their side scored a comfortable win.