LAHORE: Athar Mehmood’s splendid figures of six for 40 engineered Northern’s dominating nine-wicket win over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on day three of what was the fifth-round encounter of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2022-23 at Abbottabad Cricket Stadium on Sunday. This was Northern’s third win of the season and has furthered consolidated their position at the top of the six-team points table. After Northern scored 249 in reply of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s 175 yesterday, the latter began the day with a trail of 56 with nine wickets in hand. But a brilliant display of fast bowling from Athar bowled out Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for just 121 runs as the right-armer accounted for Sajid Khan, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Sarwar Afridi, Imran Khan Snr and Ihsanullah after he had sent back Waqar Ahmed in the closing moments of day two. This was Athar’s maiden five-wicket haul. Northern – set 48 to win – chased the target in 20.1 overs. Sindh captain Saud Shakeel converted his overnight 30 into his third century of the season. The left-hander was unbeaten on 187 off 387 balls and smashed 20 fours as Sindh scored 390 in 123 overs. The innings handed Sindh a 121-run lead over Balochistan, who find themselves in a precarious situation after losing three wickets for just 56 runs in 22 overs. Southern Punjab were stuttering in their pursuit of 377 as they had lost two wickets for 80. Usman Salahuddin and Sharoon Siraj batted at 20 and 12 after opening pair of Umar Siddiq (36) and Zain Abbas (11) was dismissed by Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Ali, who recorded his fifth first-class five-fer yesterday. Splendid centuries from Abdullah Shafique and Azhar Ali saw Central Punjab post 274 for three at a run rate of nearly five in 57 overs after the day began with the batting side on four for none. Abdullah smashed 15 fours in his unbeaten 168-ball 114 and Azhar struck 12 fours and a six in his 126-ball 108. Brief: 1: Northern beat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by nine wickets at Abbottabad Cricket Stadium Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 175, 38.5 overs (Waqar Ahmed 35, Sajid Khan 27, Imran Khan Snr 25, Sahibzada Farhan 21, Mohammad Sarwar Afridi 20; Aamir Jamal 5-38, Athar Mehmood 3-95) and 121 all out, 37 overs (Rehan Afridi 29, Sajid Khan 21; Athar Mehmood 6-40, Mehran Mumtaz 2-20, Kashif Ali 2-40) vs Northern 249 all out, 61.2 overs (Sarmad Bhatti 114, Faizan Riaz 22; Ihsanullah 5-70, Imran Khan Snr 3-70) and 48-1, 20.1 overs (Mohammad Huraira 23, Abdul Faseeh 21 not out) 2: Toss uncontested – Sindh opt to field against Balochistan at the Pindi Cricket Stadium Balochistan 269 all out, 90.5 overs (Haseebullah 67, Imran Butt 60, Hussain Talat 55, Haris Sohail 50, Asad Shafiq 27; Ghulam Mudassar 5-73, Abrar Ahmed 3-93, Muhammad Umar 2-36) and 56-3, 22 overs (Imran Butt 24) vs Sindh 390 all out, 123 overs (Saud Shakeel 187 not out, Fawad Alam 51, Muhammad Umar 44; Asad Shafiq 2-37, Kashif Bhatti 2-48, Khurram Shahzad 2-92) 3: Toss uncontested – Southern Punjab opt to field against Central Punjab at the Multan Cricket Stadium Central Punjab 302 all out, 92.5 overs (Faheem Ashraf 87, Azhar Ali 61, Mohammad Saad 44; Sameen Gul 4-67, Mohammad Sadaqat 3-67, Mohammad Ilyas 2-61) and 274-3, 57 overs (Abdullah Shafique 114 not out, Azhar Ali 108, Tayyab Tahir 22) vs Southern Punjab 200 all out, 50 overs (Muhammad Imran 71, Zain Abbas 46, Ali Usman 43; Mohammad Ali 6-59, Faheem Ashraf 2-37, Umaid Asif 2-57) and 80-2, 27 overs (Umar Siddiq 36, Usman Salahuddin 20 not out).