Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on top in Abbottabad

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LAHORE: Ashfaq Ahmed scored his fifth first-class century as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa took early control of their four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy clash against Northern in Abbottabad on Saturday.At the close of play on the opening day at the Abbottabad Cricket Stadium, Khyber Pakhtunkhwawere strongly placed at 343 for the loss of 4 wickets. Captain Muhammad Rizwan batted on 84 not out and with him was Adil Amin on 49, with the pair adding 91 runs for the unbroken fifth wicket stand.Rizwan also got into a groove early and will be looking to pass the three-figure mark on Sunday. The right-handed wicketkeeper-batsman has so far hit 12 fours and a six in his 152-minute innings. Adil’s unbeaten 49 was laced with six boundaries.There was no need for a coin toss as the visiting Northern captain ImadWasim opted to bowl first.Coming in at the fall of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s first wicket on 62, Ashfaq batted with confidence and began the new first-class cricket season with an innings of 106. He cracked 14 fours and a six in his 174-ball knock and 212-minute stay at the wicket.

Earlier, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s other batsmen failed to convert good starts into big scores. The hard-hitting left-handed opener FakharZaman was aggressive early on — hitting six fours in his 38-ball 33 — but could not kick on. SahibzadaFarhan also looked good for his 29, while Iftikhar Ahmed was run out for 35.Imad, who used six bowlers, finished the day with 1-44. SadafHussain (1-58) and Musa Khan (1-65) were the other successful bowlers.The match started after a delay of 15 minutes because of a wet square. However, no overs were lost.A minute’s silence was observed in memory of Pakistan’s leg-spinning legend Abdul Qadir before the start of the proceedings.

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Scores in brief: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (first innings) 343-4, 90 overs (Ashfaq Ahmed 106, Muhammad Rizwan 84 not out, Adil Amin 49 not out; ImadWasim 1-44, SadafHussain 1-58, Musa Khan 1-65) vs Northern.