Record-breaking Ghulam leads Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s victory push

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He broke the record for most runs in a Quaid-e-Azam Trophy season

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 300 and 243 for 5 (Ghulam 104*, Israrullah 63, Maqsood 2-52) lead Central Punjab 257 (Akram 60, Salahuddin 60, Shah 4-73, Usman 3-32) by 286 runs

After securing a first-innings lead of 43, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa extended it to 286 at the close of day three, taking control of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final at the National Stadium in Karachi. Kamran Ghulam led the way for KP, breaking the record for most runs in a Quaid-e-Azam Trophy season, pushing his tally up to 1245. The record was previously held by Saadat Ali who had scored 1217 runs in the 1983-84 season.

Ghulam ended day three on 104 not out – his second fifty-plus score of the match and his fifth ton overall this season.

“This has been an extraordinary season for me and I am grateful to my team-mates and my coaches who have played an integral role in my success this season,” Ghulam told the PCB website. “I also want to thank my family as this would not have been possible without their sacrifices in this extraordinary season which has kept the players away from their houses for the past four months.”

Ghulam also credited coach Abdul Razzaq for his progress and set his focus towards making his international debut for Pakistan. He had previously represented Pakistan at the Under-19 level.

“This season has given me a lot of confidence and now I have more faith in my abilities than before,” he said. “Having a legend like Abdul Razzaq as a coach has helped me in identifying my strengths and now my aim is to build on them. My aim is now to build on this and represent Pakistan at the highest level.”

Opening batsman Israrullah also made his second fifty of the game, leaving Central Punjab facing an uphill task.

CP added 45 to their overnight 212 for 8 before they were dismissed on the third day. Qasim Akram was the joint-highest scorer for them, staying unbeaten on 60; Usman Salahuddin had also hit 60 before he had fallen on the second day.

Israrullah struck his second fifty of the match  PCB

Waqas Maqsood then struck early for CP, removing Fakhar Zaman for 4. Five overs later, Bilawal Iqbal got No.3 Zohaib Khan for 5, but Israrullah and Ghulam combined again, this time putting on an 88-run partnership. Ghulam hit 16 boundaries while Israrullah struck 10. Akram then pitched in with the ball, cutting short Israrullah’s innings at 63.

Ghulam brought up his century off the 196th ball he faced, from CP captain Hasan Ali, when he pinched a single via an overthrow.

Adil Amin and Rehan Afridi fell late in the day, but CP still have plenty of work to do. To add to their concerns, their regular wicketkeeper Ali Shan fell sick and Muhammad Akhlaq kept wicket in his place right from the start of KP’s second innings.

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