Balochistan, Southern Punjab notch vital wins in National T20

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RAWALPINDI: Shan Masood continued his impressive form Friday as his 39-ball 53 not out handed Balochistan a five-wicket win over Sindh at the Pindi Cricket Stadium. This was the first win for a chasing side in the Kingdom Valley National T20 Cup 2022-23. 

The second match of the day belonged to Southern Punjab captain Salman Ali Agha as his incredible bowling figures of five for 10 scripted a commanding 86-run win over Central Punjab. This was all-rounder’s maiden five-fer.

Shan steers Balochistan to second win

That Balochistan won their second match of the tournament was due to Shan Masood’s unbeaten 53 off 39 as the left-handed batter steered his side to the win in the penultimate over. As Balochistan crossed the line with seven balls spare, they also became the first team in this year’s edition of the National T20 to successfully chase a target.

Player of the match Shan walked in the middle with Balochistan needing 103 in 14.3 overs after the dismissal of second opener Asad Shafiq (17 off 14) and displayed some fabulous strokeplay hitting four fours and two sixes. The shot of the innings came when he reverse-swept Zahid Mehmood for a six that sailed over point.

Following the quick wickets of Haris Sohail (10 off 15) and Hussain Talat (two off three) in the 15th and 16th overs, Shan got the desired support from Amad Butt, who spanked three fours and a six in his quickfire 12-ball 25 not out.

Sindh, following their captain Saud Shakeel’s decision to bat, made 142 for seven with Saad Khan (31 off 27) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (29 off 23) being the notable performers with the bat.

Balochistan put up a disciplined bowling performance with captain Yasir Shah, left-arm orthodox Kashif Bhatti and pacer Khurram Shahzad picking up two wickets each.

Salman’s maiden five-fer, Zain’s heroics with the bat down Central Punjab

Opener Zain Abbas smashed 65 off 44 (10 fours) as Southern Punjab set 166 for Central Punjab. They were skittled out for mere 79 in 14.3 overs thanks to a terrific show with the ball by Salman Ali Agha.

Southern Punjab made 165-8 after Salman elected to bat. Sharoon Siraj continued to add crucial runs in the middle order as in this match, he scored 35 off 24. In the last two matches, he made 57 not out against Balochistan, and 36 against Sindh.

Central Punjab’s openers Abdullah Shafique and Ahmed Shehzad once again could not provide a solid start as the latter was run out at the start of the third over, but it was the seventh over that settled the match for Southern Punjab when Salman dismissed his opposite number Qasim Akram and Abdullah in a space of three balls. The scorecard, at the time, read 34 for five.

Salman, in his next over, sent Irfan Niaz and Junaid Ali back to the pavilion on back to back deliveries, and dismissed Wahab Riaz in the 11th over as Central Punjab were reduced to 51 for eight.

There was no notable resistance from any Central Punjab batter as Usama Mir, a leg-spinner, top scored with 17 off 13.

Scores in brief:

Balochistan beat Sindh by 5 wickets

Sindh 142-7, 20 overs (Saad Khan 31, Sarfaraz Ahmed 29; Yasir Shah 2-23, Kashif Bhatti 2-23, Khurram Shahzad 2-27)

Balochistan 143-5, 18.5 overs (Shan Masood 53 not out, Amad Butt 25 not out; Sohail Khan 2-35)

Player of the match – Shan Masood (Balochistan)

Southern Punjab beat Central Punjab by 86 runs

Southern Punjab 165-8, 20 overs (Zain Abbas 65, Sharoon Siraj 35; Ahmed Daniyal 3-27, Wahab Riaz 2-37)

Central Punjab 79 all out, 14.3 overs (Salman Ali Agha 5-10)

Player of the match – Salman Ali Agha (Southern Punjab)

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