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October 16, 2020

Central Punjab keep semi-final hopes alive

Sports

October 16, 2020

RAWALPINDI: Central Punjab registered a thrilling three-run win against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday night to keep their hopes of a National T20 Cup semi-final place alive.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa captain Mohammad Rizwan played an excellent knock of 99 not out but his heroics did not help his team chase a target of 175. They ended their innings on 171-6.

Waqas Maqsood (3-43) and Ehsan Adil (2-32) were the main wicket-takers for Central Punjab.

Rizwan singlehandedly kept his team in the hunt in his stunning innings that came off 68 balls and included seven fours and six towering sixes but narrowly failed to take his side to an improbable win.

Earlier, Central Punjab were served well by Man-of-the-Match Muhammad Akhlaq, who repaid the faith of his management in his abilities (earned a call-up to the First XI squad for the Rawalpindi-leg) following his fine run in the National T20 Cup for Second XI teams at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, with a dazzling unbeaten 50 off 29 balls.

Akhlaq hit four fours and three sixes with all three maximums coming off one Shaheen Shah Afridi over — the 17th of the innings.

Central Punjab lost the big wicket of Kamran Akmal for a duck after being asked to bat first. Captain Babar Azam and Abdullah Shafiq then laid the foundation of Central Punjab’s total of 174-4 with an 80-run partnership off 63 balls.

Babar scored 39 off 33 balls with three fours and a six. Abdullah posted his second half-century of the tournament, hitting five fours and two sixes in his 48-ball 63.

Imran Khan and Usman Shinwari took two wickets each for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Scores in brief: Central Punjab 174-4 in 20 overs (Abdullah Shafiq 63, Muhammad Akhlaq 50 not out, Babar Azam 39; Usman Shinwari 2-20, Imran Khan Snr 2-24). Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 171-6 in 20 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 99 not out, Iftikhar Ahmed 21; Waqas Maqsood 3-43, Ehsan Adil 2-32). Result: Central Punjab won by three runs. Man of the Match: Mohammad Akhlaq (Central Punjab).