Nauman Ali helps Northern register second successive win; Azhar Ali bats Central Punjab to draw

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa spinners take their side to first win of the season

Umar Farooq
Umar Farooq
Nauman Ali celebrates a wicket with his teammates  •  PCB

Nauman Ali celebrates a wicket with his teammates  •  PCB

Northern register second consecutive win
Captain Nauman Ali's match haul of ten wickets helped Northern beat Sindh by 128 runs at UBL complex in Karachi. Northern had the upper hand throughout the match. They had a 111-run lead in the first innings and then set a target of 423, making 311 for 6 declared, thanks to centuries from Sarmad Bhatti (108) and Hammad Azam (100*).
Sindh made a sloppy start to their chase of the big target, losing four of their batsmen for 77. Saud Shakeel was the bright spot for Sindh as he gave them hope with an innings of 174, but his contribution went in vain as Nauman ran through the rest of the line-up, bundling them out for 294.
This was Northern's second successive win and they are currently second on the table with 52 points, with Southern Punjab leading with 55 points.
The contest was marred by unsavoury incidents, though, with Sindh captain Sarfaraz Ahmed being fined 35% of his match fee for using inappropriate language against an umpiring decision, and senior batsman Asad Shafiq fined 20% of his match fee for showing dissent towards an umpire's decision.
Spinners give Khyber Pakhtunkhwa first win of the season
Southern Punjab were undone by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa spinners Khalid Usman and Sajid Khan, who combined to take 15 wickets to lead their side to a 75-run win at the National Bank of Pakistan Sports Complex in Karachi.
When Southern Punjab were set 263 to win in the fourth innings, Usman and Sajid didn't let them settle down on what was a spin-friendly track, and skittled them for 187. It was KP's first win of the season, after a loss to Balochistan and a draw against Sindh.
It was a game of fine margins until the endgame. Mohammad Abbas took his 11th ten-wicket haul as KP went on to take a slender lead of 16 runs in the first innings, and when the contest entered the final day, Southern Punjab required another 250 runs with all ten wickets at their disposal. They were dealt an early blow, though, with captain Hussain Talat, who scored 131 in the first innings, dismissed by Sajid cheaply, and Umar Siddiq's 56 was the only half-century in the innings. In the absence of a partnership, the two spinners continued to make inroads and intensify the pressure, ultimately condemning Southern Punjab to a defeat.
Azhar Ali hits 95* as Central Punjab draw against Balochistan
With 55 required to win in the last hour at the National Stadium in Karachi, and with Azhar Ali at the crease and three wickets remaining, Central Punjab ended up pulling off a draw against Balochistan. The captain spent over 250 minutes in the middle and missed a century to cap what could have lifted his side, who are sitting at bottom of the table with two defeats.
Earlier in the game, Amad Butt's 6 for 57 helped Balochistan to a 55-run lead in the first innings after Central posted 306. Central bowlers had a better outing in the second innings, bowling Balochistan out for 213 with left-arm spinner Ahmed Safi Abdullah picking 4 for 31. Central Punjab had nearly three sessions to chase down a target of 269. Azhar being around would have given them some hope, but as three wickets quickly fell in the final session, the captain batted cautiously with the tail and finished with an unbeaten 95.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent