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Sunday December 05, 2021

KP thump hapless Southern Punjab by 73 runs

October 13, 2020

RAWALPINDI: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) have strengthened their position to become the second team to qualify for the semi-finals in the National T20 Cup while Southern Punjab with second successive defeat in as many days were left praying for a miracle to make any further progress from a wooden spoon position.

It was just a cakewalk for KP as the in-form team thumped hapless Southern Punjab by 73 runs in the opening match on Monday. Set to score 206 for victory, Southern were bowled out for just 132 in the 20th over.

Some quality attacking cricket was put on display by Fakhar Zaman (68), Iftikhar Ahmed (36) and Musadiq Ahmed (33) as KP took their score to over 200 after being asked to bat first. While Fakhar was aggressive striking 11 fours and two sixes during his 34-ball stay at the wicket, Musadiq playing his opening first XI match this season put the Southern attack to the sword in the dying moments of the innings. His swashbuckling innings was studded with three fours and as many sixes. His knock put perfect icing on the cake for the KP that always looked a better side during 40 overs on-field action. Aamer Yamin (2-36) and Mohammad Ilyas (2-43) bowled within their limits to emerge as successful bowlers.

Southern never looked in hunt for a daunting target as the batsmen were seen just going through the motions. Whenever Southern batsmen tried to take on the quality attack led by Shaheen Shah Afridi (1-14), they started losing wickets one after another.

Shan Masood (0) again failed to impress in the shorter version of the game and lost his wicket in the very first over of the innings. He had no clue of Shaheen’s delivery that moved late only to see Iftikhar taking a chest-high catch at slips. Junaid Khan (2-31) continued his good run with the ball.

Newly promoted Zain Abbas (from second to the first XI) showed glimpses of quality with a brief 34-run knock while it was left to Mohammad Imran (48) to add some spice to otherwise dull Sothern’s innings. He struck two sixes with one hitting a cameraman just in front of the media stand besides sending the ball to the boundary six times during his 28-ball stay at the wicket.

Fakhar, who was adjudged man-of-the-match, admitted that Pindi Stadium’s pitches were really supportive in nature. “Besides good for stroke play, these pitches also offer some assistance to pace and seam bowlers and that is good for cricket. You have to be good to stay longer and get runs. You need to adjust earlier on in order to play solid knock,” Fakhar said.

Scores in brief: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 205-4 in 20 overs (Fakhar Zaman 68, Iftikhar Ahmed 36, Shoaib Malik 33 not out, Musadiq Ahmed 33 not out; Aamer Yamin 2-36, Mohammad Ilyas 2-43). Southern Punjab 132 all out in 19.3 overs (Mohammad Imran 48, Zain Abbas 34; Junaid Khan 2-31). Result: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa won by 73 runs.