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October 24, 2019

Northern, Balochistan reach National T20 final


October 24, 2019

KARACHI: Northern pipped Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by three runs in a last over thriller to secure a spot in the final of the National T20 Cup at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad on Wednesday.

Northern fast-bowler Haris Rauf defended eight runs in the last over, taking three wickets in the process to seal victory for his team.

Haris started the over by taking the wicket of Iftikhar Ahmed, the top-scorer of the run-chase with 53 off 45 balls. Musadiq Ahmed (0), Zohaib Khan (5) and Mohammad Mohsin, who was run-out, were the other three wickets to fall in the final over.

Northern had set a target of 149 after being asked to bat by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa captain Mohammad Rizwan.

Opener Umar Amin scored a 33-ball 43, hitting four fours and a six, and stitched a 50-run stand for the third-wicket with wicketkeeper-batsman Rohail Nazir, who scored run-a-ball 21.

Asif Ali was the other notable run-getter as he scored 28 runs off 16 balls with two sixes and a four.

Usman Shinwari bowled brilliantly, taking five wickets for just 13 runs in his four overs. Imran Khan Jr took 2-31.

In reply, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lost their opener Sahibzada Farhan (0) in the first over. After scoring run-a-ball 15, Rizwan followed him back to the pavilion in the fifth over.

A 65-run stand for the third-wicket between Fakhar Zaman (39 off 31 balls) and Iftikhar, who hit six fours, stabilised Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's run chase.

Khushdil Shah’s 17-ball 22, which had three fours, further consolidated their position. But the match then turned on its head in the last over.

Haris was adjudged Man of the Match for taking 3-26 in three overs. Sohail Tanvir grabbed 2-24.

In the other semi-final, Balochistan won a nerve-wrecking contest against Southern Punjab as they completed the 174-run chase on the last ball of their 20th over.

After being invited to bat, Southern Punjab scored 173-5 in their 20 overs.

Experienced all-rounders Mohammad Hafeez (65 off 41 balls) and Shoaib Malik (64 off 40 balls) helped their side reach a formidable total with a 72-run partnership for the third wicket. Hafeez hit nine fours and one six, while Malik cracked six boundaries and two sixes.

Ali Shafiq took 2-31 for Balochistan.

In reply, Balochistan lost opener Imam-ul-Haq (10) early. But Awais Zia (31 off 26 balls) and Imran Farhat (20 off 17 balls) then steadied the Balochistan innings with a 55-run third wicket partnership.

After the dismissals of Awais and Imran, Hussain Talat (42 off 29 balls) and Ammad Butt (29* off 14 balls) helped their side reach the target.

Ammad was declarted Man of the Match.