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Shan, Zeeshan put Southern Punjab into final


October 18, 2020

RAWALPINDI: Southern Punjab stood up to the task when it really mattered as defending champions Northern’s pride was smashed in the National T20 Cup semi-final at the Pindi Stadium on Saturday.

Fresh from their heroics the other day against Balochistan, Southern Punjab became the first team to qualify for the final, bringing down the high flying Northern by seven wickets. Northern were restricted to 160-5 and then it was left to skipper Shan Masood (78 not out) and Zeeshan Ashraf (55) to carry Southern Punjab home with eight balls to spare.

Shan together with Zeeshan laid a solid foundation of effective run chase, putting on 91 runs in 10.2 overs that all but put the team well on track for an easy win at the end.

Zeeshan fell to Mohammad Musa (1-22) not before hitting four sixes and as many boundaries in his 32-ball entertaining knock. Leading from the front Man of the Match Shan continued his good work at the other end, slowly but surely making sure that his team stays in the hunt for a relatively easy target.

A stylish display of ground-strokes as well as two timely sixes saw Shan keeping up the pressure on the Northern’s bowling attack. His 58-ball unbeaten knock was also studded with six boundaries.

“I don’t think I deserve the award, Zahid Mahmood bowled really well and Zeeshan Ashraf batted very well. We had to play a major match only 12 hours after finishing our last match; I am extremely pleased with the team’s performance. We wanted to groom players in the tournament and I think we have achieved that.

“We had a very poor start as we kept conceding 200 plus scores, but we had faith in our players. We today have defeated a team that can be called a full Pakistan eleven which makes us very pleased. We will now try to perform tomorrow in the big final.”

In the bowling for Northern, Imad Wasim (1-17) and Haris Rauf (1-35) though bowled well but they never looked threatening to take the match away.

Earlier, Northern looked a totally different side when they decided to bat first. Their top-order never realised the importance of a knock-out match. On a dead track, Northern batsmen looked totally disjointed and aloof of the urgency to put up a bigger total.

Ali Imran (50) was seen playing more for himself rather than his team. Zeeshan Malik (16), Haider Ali (18) and Imad Wasim (19) were too submissive in their approach. Though Shadab Khan (48 of 27 balls) tried to mend fences, striking three sixes and four boundaries during his unbeaten stay at the wicket, the total was never worthy of a true defending champions’ stuff.

Leg spinner Zahid Mehmood (3-28) led the Southern Punjab’s bowling well. Even Aamer Yamin (0-27), Mohammad Abbas (1-32) were seen managing the Northern batting line-up well.

Northern looked a disjointed look as the teamwork was never evident from their batting, fielding or even from their bowling. Sohaib heroics turn Southern Punjab’s fortunes

RAWALPINDI: Sohaib Maqsood (81 on 29 ball) made the impossible possible for Southern Punjab as the team chased down 162 winning total in just 10.4 overs against Balochistan to earn a place in the semi-finals late Friday.

Southern Punjab, who had languished at the bottom of the points table for the most part of the tournament, had to chase 162 runs within 12.3 overs to progress to knock out stage. They did it for the loss of just three wickets courtesy to some sensational display of power hitting.

Led by Sohaib, Southern batting line up toyed with Balochistan bowling, carving out 87 for the opening wicket from just 5.3 overs. When Zeeshan Ashraf (21) departed, Northern were already threatening to reach the total within the required 12.3 overs to earn a place in the semis. The herculean task was turned into a cakewalk as Sohaib smashed 13 fours and four sixes.