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April 3, 2019

Umar hits ton to help Balochistan overwhelm Punjab


April 3, 2019

KARACHI: Umar Akmal blasted a superb unbeaten 136 to enable Balochistan to take a solid start when they overwhelmed Punjab by six wickets in the day-night opener of the Pakistan Cup at the Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi, on Tuesday.

Umar, who did not have a good series with the bat against Australia in the UAE recently, played his career-best knock in List A cricket to enable Balochistan to chase the 295-run target with 24 balls to spare after losing four wickets.

Umar, who brought in his hundred off 86 balls, smashed 14 fours and five sixes in his 108-ball match-winning knock. This was the sixth List A hundred for the 28-year-old in his 203rd match.

Chasing a tricky target, Balochistan lost three wickets with just 66 on the board. However, at this stage Umar shared 120 runs for the fourth wicket stand with Awais Zia (75) before the latter was held in the deep by Hussain Talat off the bowling of left-arm spinner Mohammad Asghar. The left-handed discarded international Awais hammered seven fours and one six in his 76-ball knock.

Umar added 110 more runs for the fifth wicket unbroken stand with discarded international Fawad Alam, who scored 40-ball 37 not out with three fours to take Balochistan safely home. Skipper Asad Shafiq (13), Bismillah Khan (11) and Zeeshan Ashraf (9) fell early.

Sohail Tanvir (1-57 in 8 overs), Ehsan Adil (1-56 in 9), Iftikhar Ahmed (1-39 in 10) and Mohammad Asghar (1-57 in 10) were the successful bowlers. Discarded Test pacer Mohammad Sami remained the most expensive of bowlers, finishing with 0-73 in eight overs.

Earlier, Saad Ali (73) and discarded international all-rounder Sohail Tanvir (68) shared a solid 87-run partnership for the sixth wicket to guide Punjab to 294 all out in 49.4 overs.

The left-handed Saad, who made his one-day debut against Australia in the UAE, smashed six fours from 86 deliveries before getting run out by Awais Zia.

Sohail seemed more ruthless with his approach as the bowling all-rounder hammered five huge sixes and three fours in his 59-ball feat. He was removed by Ammad Butt in the 49th over.

After opting to bat first, when Kamran Akmal won the toss, Punjab had a fragile start as discarded international Mohammad Irfan got rid of Test opener Sami Aslam off the third ball of his first over.

Sami (0), who was bowled played-on, faced just two balls. Haris Rauf, the find of the PSL-4, got the prized scalp of Kamran (15) to leave Punjab tottering at 31-2 in the eighth over. The good-length delivery lifted a bit and Kamran played in the air, giving Ali Imran an easy catch at cover.

Kamran, who was dropped by wicket-keeper Bismillah Khan off the bowling of Irfan when on 14, smashed two fours from 17 deliveries.

Khurram Manzoor (36) and Iftikhar Ahmed (54) then consolidated the innings. They shared 43 for the third wicket before medium-pacer Ali Imran had the former caught by Asad Shafiq. Khurram smashed four fours and one six in his patient 49-ball knock.

Iftikhar was the next man to fall, caught by Umar Akmal at deep mid-on off the bowling of left-arm spinner Umar Khan after the Test cricketer had shared 63 valuable runs for the fourth wicket with Saad Ali. Iftikhar, who played a Test against England, smashed seven fours in his 57-ball solid fifty.

The right-arm quick Haris, who made his List A debut claimed 2-48 in ten overs. Umar Khan captured 2-54 in 9.4 overs.

Umar Akmal was adjudged the Man of the Match. Qaiser Waheed and Ghaffar Kazmi supervised the match, while Iftikhar Ahmed was the match referee. On Wednesday (today), holders Federal Areas will face Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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