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MULTAN: Three wickets off three balls (one run-out) from Mehran Mumtaz’s first over – 10th over of the innings and 40 unbeaten runs from Sohail Tanvir proved game changer for Northern as they defeated Southern Punjab by three runs to qualify for the semi-final in the 30th fixture of the Kingdom Valley National T20 Cup 2022-23 at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Saturday evening.
Southern Punjab – that were set a modest 130-run target by Northern were well in course to achieve the target as they were 58 for two at the end of the ninth over. Introduction of left-arm spinner Mehran in the 10th over put brakes on their run-chase as Mehran got Salman Ali Agha (one off three) lbw on the first ball he bowled. The next ball he sent Sharoon Siraj (first ball duck) lbw without troubling the score. On a hat-trick ball, the direct throw from Usman Khan Shinwari was enough to send back non-striker Sohaib Maqsood (eight off seven, one four) back to the pavilion.
After the quick dismissals of Southern Punjab’s batters, Northern were never in position to stage a comeback. Hasan Ali (26 not out off 16) – who was playing for the first time in the tournament struck two sixes and one four to give Southern Punjab a glimpse of hope, but Southern Punjab fell four runs shy of the target and were send packing from the tournament.
Mehran, Usman Khan Shinwari and Zaman Khan bagged two wickets apiece for Northern.
In the first semi-final table toppers Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will take on Northern, while Sindh will face Central Punjab in the second semi-final. Both semi-finals will be played tomorrow at the Multan Cricket Stadium and PTV Sports will broadcast the matches live while it be live streamed on the PCB YouTube channel.
Earlier, after a 15-minute delayed start due to dust storm, Umar Amin’s decision to bat first didn’t go down well as Northern wobbled at the top of the innings when they slumped to 83 for seven in the 15th over. That Northern were managed to score over 100 was largely because of a 37-run partnership for the eighth wicket between Usman (21 off 16, three fours) and Sohail – who returned undefeated on 40 from 30 balls, smashing three fours and two sixes.
Northern made 129 for eight from their allotted 20 overs.
Hasan was dispatched for a six by Nasir Nawaz on the first ball he bowled, but the right-arm fast made a strong comeback to get Taimoor Sultan lbw for four on the last ball of his first over which went for 11 runs. Right-arm fast Mohammad Ilyas was amongst the wickets again as he took three wickets for 29. He accounted for Nasir (15, 15b, one four, one six), Mubasir Khan (six off five, one four) and Usman. Leg-spinner Ali Majid and right-arm fast Hasan bagged two wickets apiece for 29 and 3o runs, respectively.
Defending champions Khyber Pakhtunkhwa won six matches to make their way to the semi-final stage. Sindh, Central Punjab and Northern – all three also qualified for the semi-final were tied on 10 points from 10 matches, but put them ahead of Balochistan (on net run-rate).
Southern Punjab managed to win four matches and languished at the bottom of the table with eight points.
Scores in brief:
Northern beat Southern Punjab by three runs
Northern 129-8, 20 overs (Sohail Tanvir 40 not out, Usman Khan Shinwari 21; Mohammad Ilyas 3-29, Ali Majid 2-29, Hasan Ali 2-30)
Southern Punjab 126-7, 20 overs (Hasan Ali 26 not out, Umar Siddiq 24, Zain Abbas 22; Mehran Mumtaz 2-17, Zaman Khan 2-17, Usman Khan Shinwari 2-31)
Player of the match – Mehran Mumtaz and Sohail Tanvir (Northern)
First semi-final – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa v Northern at 1500
Second semi-final – Sindh v Central Punjab at 1930