RAWALPINDI: Balochistan opener Haseebullah plays a shot during the National T20 Cup match against Northern at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Monday.
—Tanveer Shahzad/White Star
RAWALPINDI: Balochistan opener Haseebullah plays a shot during the National T20 Cup match against Northern at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Monday.
—Tanveer Shahzad/White Star

ISLAMABAD: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa downed Southern Punjab by seven wickets while Balochistan outplayed Northern by 19 runs in their respective National T20 Cup matches here at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Monday.

In the first match, KP maintained their rhythm and recorded their fourth straight win in a contest reduced to five-overs due to wet outfield.

Left-arm pacer Mohammad Imran made the most of the variations in his arsenal and denied any scoring opportunities to Southern Punjab batters as he conceded only 13 in his two overs and took Hassan Khan’s wicket.

Southern Punjab, put in to bat, could muster 41 runs for the loss of four wickets in five overs, which, in the end, proved to be a cakewalk for defending champions Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Aamer Azmat, unbeaten on 14 off 10, dragged Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the line with three balls to spare and seven wickets in hand.

Right-arm pacer Mohammad Ilyas accounted for Sahibzada Farhan and Sarwar Afridi and was the only bowler in the match to take two wickets.

In the second match, Hussain Talat took Balochistan to a 19-run win.

Talat dismissed Rohail Nazir and Umar Amin in the sixth over and sent Hasan Nawaz packing in the eighth in an extraordinary batting collapse that formed the basis of Balochistan’s third win of the tournament.

Sohail Tanvir registered his highest T20 score with 74 off 42 and hit six sixes and three fours, but such was the magnitude of the top order collapse that it couldn’t save Northern.

Aamir Jamal, with 35 off 21, was the other batter to show some resistance but all Northern could manage was 162-7.

Hussain returned 3-17, while his fellow pacer Khurram Shahzad picked up two wickets for 28.

It was a solid half-century at the top of the order from Haseebullah and blistering knocks from Shan Masood (45) and Haris Sohail (34) that lifted Balochistan to 181 for three after they were asked to bat.

Haseebullah and Asad Shafiq (34 off 28) added 62 runs for the first wicket in 8.4 overs. Young Haseebullah continued to play the anchor’s role till he was dismissed by Sohail on the first ball of the 15th over. Balochistan were 109 at that point.

Shan and Haris made their experience count and added 72 runs at a run rate of over 11. Shan hit six fours in his 29-ball knock and Haris’ 19-ball innings was studded with four fours and a six.

After completion of the 12th match, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were placed at top of the table followed by Balochistan, who have six points from three wins. With four points coming from two wins, Southern Punjab and Sindh were placed at third and fourth respectively.

Northern stand fifth with one win, while Central Punjab were placed at the bottom.

Scores in brief:

SOUTHERN PUNJAB 41-4 in five overs (Mohammad Ilyas 13 not out; Imran Khan Sr 1-12); KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 44-3 in 4.3 overs (Aamer Azmat 14 not out; Mohammad Ilyas 2-14)

BALOCHISTAN 181-3 in 20 overs (Haseebullah 52, Shan Masood 45 not out); NORTHERN 162-7 in 20 overs (Sohail Tanvir 74 not out, Aamir Jamal 35; Hussain Talat 3-17, Khurram Shahzad 2-28).

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2022

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