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October 18, 2019

Balochistan first to reach T20 Cup semis


October 18, 2019

KARACHI: Balochistan on Thursday became the first outfit to qualify for the semi-finals, defeating Southern Punjab by seven wickets in their outing of the National T20 Cup 2019-2020 at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad.

This was their third win in four games. Meanwhile, Sindh lost their second match from four outings when they were outclassed by Northern by a massive margin of 66 runs in a day-nighter.

Imam-ul-Haq (51) hit another fifty to play a key role in Balochistan’s win over Southern Punjab as the former chased the 145-run target with three balls to spare after losing three wickets.

Imam hammered six fours in his 39-ball knock before getting run out. He along with Awais Zia (22) provided a 60-run opening stand to Balochistan. Awais hit three fours from 24 deliveries. Imran Butt (28*) and Haris Sohail (25*) then scored 47 runs for the fourth-wicket association to take their side home comfortably. Imran Butt smacked four fours from 21 balls. Haris hit three fours from 22 deliveries.

In the final over, bowled by Bilawal Bhatti, Balochistan needed just six runs which they picked off the first three deliveries. Zahid Mehmood got 2-28 in four overs. After being asked to bat first, Southern Punjab struggled all the way before posting 144-7.

They had a disastrous start when they lost their openers Shan Masood (0) and Mohammad Hafeez (0) without troubling the scorer. Both were removed by Akif Javed, who has been very impressive in the event.

Sohaib Maqsood was the only top order batsman who offered some resistance to the bowlers, scoring 34-ball 35 with two sixes and two fours. However, in the final overs Wahab Riaz (31*) and Aamer Yamin (27) went after the bowling to take their side to a respectable total.

Wahab smacked one six and three fours from 17 balls. Yamin hit two sixes and one four from 20 deliveries. Akif Javed returned with excellent figures of 3-16 in four overs. Chaman-born left-arm spinner Mohammad Asghar got 2-27. Imam was adjudged the man of the match.

Meanwhile, in the other show Asad Shafiq-led Sindh were comprehensively beaten by Northern being led by Imad Wasim. Set to score 192, Sindh perished for 125 in 17.4 overs. Pakistan’s key leggie Shadab Khan bowled brilliantly, picking 3-28 in four overs. Mohammad Amir got 2-18 in three overs.

Opener Ahsan Ali top-scored with 20-ball 29 which carried three fours and one six. Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed made 17 runs each. Earlier, Sohail Akhtar hammered a blistering 36-ball 63 to enable Northern to post 191-7 in the allotted 20 overs.

After losing Ali Imran (4) early, Sohail joined Umar Amin (36) and the duo added 102 runs for the second wicket stand off only 58 deliveries to set a solid foundation. Sohail hammered three sixes and six fours in his fiery knock. Left-handed Umar smashed three sixes and two fours from 25 balls. Asif Ali (30) and skipper Imad Wasim (27*) also used long handles to take their side to a good total.

Asif hammered two sixes and three fours from only 16 balls. Imad smacked one six and two fours from 19 balls. Rookie pacer Mohammad Hasnain was the pick of the bowlers with 2-32 in his quota of four overs.

This was the second win for Northern and they are yet to play two matches. Sindh, with two wins, are still alive in the event with a game in hand. On Friday (today), Southern Punjab will face Central Punjab, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will meet Northern.

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