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January 25, 2021

Iftikhar’s all-round show pushes KP into One-day Cup semis

Sports

January 25, 2021

KARACHI: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa downed Central Punjab by 69 runs thanks to Test cricketer Iftikhar Ahmed’s allround performance to make it to the semi-finals of the Pakistan Cup One-day tournament for First XIs here at the UBL Sports Complex on Sunday.

The win took KP to ten points and they became the second team to qualify for the last-four stage. Sindh had already reached the knockout stage. KP posted a huge total of 328-9 in the allotted 50 overs with Fakhar Zaman (92) and Iftikhar Ahmed (76) hitting marvellous fifties.

The duo added 145 runs for the third wicket to give a huge edge to their side which recorded their fifth win with a game against Balochistan yet in hand. Fakhar struck eight fours and three sixes in his 95-ball knock, while Iftikhar smashed five sixes and four fours in his 71-ball effort. Adil Amin chipped in with 43-ball 51, striking two fours and three sixes. Zafar Gohar got 3-49, while Qasim Akram captured 2-36.

In response, Central Punjab were out for 259 in the 45th over. Qasim Akram also shone with the bat, scoring 76-ball 67, featuring five fours and two sixes. Raza Ali Dar made 74-ball 50 with two fours while Rizwan Hussain belted 46 off just 23 balls, smacking seven fours and two sixes.

Iftikhar also excelled with the ball, taking 4-47 in ten overs. Asif Afridi claimed 3-65 and Imran Khan captured 2-56. Meanwhile, Sindh recorded their seventh win when they defeated Southern Punjab by five wickets here at the SBP Ground.

Skipper Shan Masood (125) and hard-hitting discarded international Sohaib Maqsood (130) enabled Southern Punjab to post 348-4. The duo added 200 runs in the seventh-wicket association. Sohaib hammered ten sixes and nine fours in his blistering 79-ball knock. Shan struck 13 fours and one six from 141 balls. Hussain Talat smashed 35-ball 46 not out, hitting four fours and one six. Mohammad Hasnain got 2-38 in his quota of ten overs, while Shahnawaz Dhani and Mir Hamza took one wicket each.

Sindh achieved the target in the 47th over after losing five wickets. Left-handed batsman Saad Ali played a fine knock of 78 not out, hammering nine fours and one six from just 54 balls. Danish Aziz chipped in with 61-ball 65, hitting eight fours and one six. Asad Shafiq made 61-ball 62, smacking seven fours.

Fast bowler Mohammad Abbas got 2-62 in nine overs. Mohammad Ilyas and leggie Zahid Mahmood claimed one wicket each. The win took Sindh to 14 points at the summit. Southern Punjab have eight points from nine matches. They have a match against Northern on Tuesday (tomorrow), which will decide their fate.

Here at NBP Sports Complex, Northern overwhelmed Balochistan by six wickets to take their points to eight. Balochistan accumulated 249-6 with Ayaz Tasawwar scoring 68-ball 82, smacking six fours and two sixes. He added 136 for the sixth wicket with Akbar-ur-Rehman, who made 89-ball 75, striking four fours. Skipper Imran Farhat made 81-ball 48, hammering five fours. Left-arm pacer Waqas Maqsood and Athar Mahmood got two wickets each.

Northern rode on fifties from Rohail Nazir (69*) and Haider Ali (53) to chase the 250-run target in the 47th over. Rohail, a wicket-keeper batsman, smashed five fours and two sixes in his 84-ball knock. Haider smacked eight fours from 54 deliveries.

Experienced discarded international Umar Amin made 59-ball 47, hitting two fours and one six. Hammad Azam smashed a swashbuckling 16-ball 30 not out, smacking two fours and one six.

Mohammad Junaid got 2-49 in seven overs, while Jalat Khan and Umaid Asif claimed one wicket each. The win took Northern to eight points. They will play against Southern Punjab on Tuesday in the last round of the six-team event.

The loss left Balochistan at six points. Balochistan have a distant last-four chance. They will face KP in their last game on Tuesday.