The sixth round of the 2022 County Championship concluded on Sunday, with three Pakistanis in action. Haris Rauf was the sole Pakistani representative in Division One, but this time around, it was the batters rather than the fast bowlers who shone.
Rauf endured a tough few days with the ball this round, but then again, which Yorkshire bowler didn't? Keaton Jennings, who scored 238, and Steven Croft (104) piled on a 237-run third wicket stand for Lancashire until the Pakistani pacer broke through Croft's defences, but that was the only fleeting moment of joy Rauf experienced as Lancashire put on 566 in the first innings. Yorkshire only just hung on for a draw, and like their premier fast bowler, will likely be happy to put this round behind them and move on to the next.
Perhaps Azhar really has turned a corner in the Championship. After 92 in the second innings last time around, Azhar followed up with a pair of half-centuries against Derbyshire, his 88 and 60 making him the contest's second-highest scorer, one run behind Jack Haynes. It included a 177-run first innings third wicket stand with Haynes as Worcestershire scored 368 against Derbyshire. With Derbyshire following up with a mammoth 565, Azhar would, alongside Jake Libby, assuage any concerns of an ensuing collapse, combining for a 164-run second wicket partnership this time.
That Derbyshire needed to bat only once against Worcestershire, was courtesy the 113 that Masood made. After Derbyshire didn't play the previous round, Masood made up for lost time with his third hundred in four matches, his century setting his side on their way to the mammoth 565. It takes the Pakistan opener back to the top of the run charts for this season, leapfrogging Sean Dickson and Cheteshwar Pujara, with 826 at an average of 118.