Two Saads making waves
Mohammad Saad, the 27-year old middle-order batsman from WAPDA, scored his third hundred of the season, a combative unbeaten 134 that rescued his side from a crisis. Replying to National Bank Limited's 314, WAPDA were reeling at 181 for 9 when Mohammad Asif joined him. The two added an astonishing 140 for the last wicket, enabling WAPDA to take an improbable seven-run lead. Eventually, the partnership would prove instrumental in helping the defending champions win by six wickets.
In the previous round, the Gujranwala-born Saad had made another exceptional hundred under pressure. Then, WAPDA were eight down, chasing 246, but he stood firm, steering his side towards their target, only for Taj Wali to mankad No. 11 Mohammad Irfan with WAPDA just four runs from their target. In any case, innings like these have moved Saad into the top three run-scorers in the QeA Trophy this season.
Then there is Saad Ali, who plays for United Bank Limited. He is the leading run-getter so far, with 636 runs at 127.20. The 24-year old left-hander was born in Karachi and made his debut in domestic cricket in 2012. He scored his first double-hundred in the most recent round of fixtures, against Pakistan TV, leading his side to an emphatic victory in Sialkot to maintain his side's grip on top spot in Pool B.
A one-and-a-half day match
Misbah-ul-Haq led Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited to a crushing defeat of Sui Southern Gas Corporation in just one-and-a-half days of play in Faisalabad. A venue that has been traditionally known for batting turned into a batsman's graveyard, 32 wickets falling in five sessions, 17 on the opening day alone. SSGC, after being asked to bat first, were dismissed for 129 in 41.3 overs. Thereafter, demolition-man Ahmed Jamal single-handedly ripped through SNGPL to bowl them out for 144. SSGC could only set a target of 60, which was chased down in 27.1 overs, SNGPL cruising home by eight wickets.
Sensational Jamal rises to the occasion
The 6'4" Jamal was once named the 'King of Speed' after winning a 2013 talent-hunt programme run by the PCB. At the age of 24, he clocked 143kph to win Rs. 1 million and the opportunity to work with Wasim Akram in Karachi. He has been on the circuit since 2009, but has never been a national prospect. But he's done his chances no harm with his performance in Faisalabad, achieving career-best figures of 9 for 50 against SNGPL.
Amad Butt pushes his case again
Here we go again, talking about a Pakistani fast bowler. The 22-year old right-arm quick earned a T20 call-up in England last year, but wasn't given a chance to make his debut in what was Sarfraz Ahmed's first T20I as captain. But after a somewhat indifferent start to the QeA this year, he roared back to form with match figures of 10 for 49, picking up five wickets in each innings. It helped Habib Bank beat Khan Research Laboratories by 93 runs, and maintained the heat on Pool B leaders UBL. His teammate Imran Farhat, the former Pakistan batsman, didn't enjoy quite such a good game, bagging a pair at No. 4.
It would be a shame to jinx it, but since his century in Round 3, Fawad Alam has failed to maintain the form he needs to continue applying pressure on the national selectors. That was the case again in the two-day game between SSGC and SNGPL, with Fawad only able to notch up 10 and 5 as his side slumped to an eight-wicket defeat. His side are still at the top of Pool A, however, but now only one point separates them and SNGPL.