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RAWALPINDI: Sindh romped to their second win on the trot when they defeated Southern Punjab by ten runs in their Kingdom Valley National T20 Cup 2022-23 here at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
In the second match of the day, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa began their title defence with an 18-run win over Central Punjab. This was Central Punjab’s second close defeat in as many days.
A sparkling 92 by Saim Ayub and Mir Hamza’s scorching opening spell orchestrated Sindh’s win. Saim scored at a staggering strike rate of 177 and smashed seven sixes and six fours to set a demanding 191-run target for Northern. The left-handed opener added 39 and an innings-defining 85 with Omair Bin Yousuf (18 off 15) and Saud Shakeel (20 off 18) respectively, playing the lead role in both stands, after his opening partner Sharjeel Khan was cleaned up in the first over.
Experienced all-rounder Sohail Tanvir was Northern’s pick of the bowlers with three for 28.
Left-arm pacer Mir Hamza provided Sindh a solid start by removing both Northern openers – Hasan Nawaz and Ali Imran – in back-to-back overs. As Nasir Nawaz (39 off 21) and Zeeshan Malik (29 off 31) were on course to stage a recovery, leg-spinner Zahid Mehmood bowled the former.
Young all-rounder Mubasir Khan and Sohail gave Northern fans a glimpse of hope. They added 45 runs at a run rate of 11 but fell in the 18th and 19th overs. Mubasir scored 33 off 25 (four fours and a six) and Sohail made 21 off 14 (two sixes) before he became Hamza’s third wicket.
Hamza returned three for 33 and Sohail Khan picked up two wickets for 38. Meanwhile Central Punjab’s Tayyab Tahir’s second consecutive fifty went in vain as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa began their title defence with an 18-run win in the second match of the day.
Right-handed Tayyab scored a breezy 72 off 45 (five fours and three sixes) in his side’s unsuccessful pursuit of 166. It was the 57-run stand for the third wicket with Qasim Akram that gave Central Punjab a chance at the target, but it ended in the 12th over.
Following the dismissal, Tayyab never got a reliable partner at the other end as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals; player of the match Imran Khan Snr returned four wickets for 27, Mohammad Imran picked up two for 19 and Asif Afridi took two wickets for 24.
With Faheem Ashraf injured, Central Punjab’s innings ended with five balls spare for 147.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, after their captain Khalid Usman opted to bat, made 165 for six with Kamran Ghulam top-scoring with a 32-ball 39.
It was, overall, a consolidated batting performance with Adil Amin scoring 24 off 17, Mohammad Sarwar Afridi scoring 30 not out off 21 and Khalid smashing 22 off 10.
Scores in brief:
Sindh beat Northern by 10 runs
Sindh 190-7, 20 overs (Saim Ayub 92, Saad Khan 26 not out, Saud Shakeel 20; Sohail Tanvir 3-28)
Northern 180-7, 20 overs (Nasir Nawaz 39, Mubasir Khan 33, Zeeshan Malik 29, Sohail Tanvir 21; Mir Hamza 3-33, Sohail Khan 2-38)
Player of the match – Saim Ayub (Sindh)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Central Punjab by 18 runs
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 165-6, 20 overs (Kamran Ghulam 39, Mohammad Sarwar Afridi 30 not out, Adil Amin 24, Khalid Usman 22; Ali Asfand 2-22)
Central Punjab 147-9, 19.1 overs (Tayyab Tahir 72, Ahmed Shehzad 26; Imran Khan Snr 4-27, Mohammad Imran 2-19, Asif Afridi 2-24)
Player of the match – Imran Khan Snr (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
Balochistan v Southern Punjab at 0930
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa v Northern at 1345