KARACHI: Aided by two blistering half-centuries and a brilliant all-round effort from Amad Butt, Balochistan cut down Sindh to sizes with a crushing 52-run victory in their First XI fixture of the National T20 Cup at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad on Monday.
Asad Shafiq’s decision to field at the toss badly misfired as Balochistan amassed a colossal 233-6 on the back of superlative efforts from opener Awais Zia and Bismillah Khan with surpassing the 50-run mark. Awais and Imam-ul-Haq (25 off 15 balls, three fours and one six) used the Powerplay overs superbly to put on 60.
Awais and Bismillah then forged a belligerent second-wicket partnership of 99 when Awais was dismissed by Sohail Khan for 77, a 48-ball innings studded with seven sixes and five fours. Bismillah, the wicket-keeper/batsman, had bludgeoned four sixes and four fours by the time Saud Shakeel had him taken in the deep by Abid Ali.
The icing on the cake was provided at the death by Amad who smashed four sixes and a four in a 10-ball cameo of 31.
Mohammad Hasnain grabbed 3-42 in what was a forgetful outing for the Sindh bowlers.
Faced with a daunting asking rate of 11.7 per over from the onset, Sindh threw away several starts from the top-order to be bowled out for 181 in 19.4 overs. Abid Ali emerged as the chief run-getter with a 24-ball 42 (five fours and two sixes),
And although Khurram Manzoor struck an 18-ball 33 (seven boundaries), Sarfraz was last out for a 25-ball 36 (three fours and two sixes) while Saud blasted a 20-ball 28 (three fours), Balochistan always had things under control. The young left-arm paceman Akif Javed took 3-42 and Amad completed a good day at the office with the wickets of Ahsan Ali (22), Anwar Ali (0) and Kashif Bhatti (1) for 32 runs from four overs.
In the day’s first match, Asif Ali slammed 44 off 24 balls to enable Northern upstage Southern Punjab by five wickets. The Pakistan limited-overs specialist banged three sixes and as many fours to help Northern chase down a relatively modest target of 136 in 19 overs.
Umar Amin also lent a good hand with an even 50 as the discarded Pakistan left-hander laced his 59-ball innings with six fours and two sixes.
Sohail Tanvir (3-27 in four overs) and Mohammad Amir (2-19 in three) were mainly responsible for restricting Southern Punjab to 135-9. Aamir Yamin was main scorer as the all-rounder hit a 20-ball 33 (four fours and one six).
Meanwhile late on Sunday, Babar Azam stole thunder with a sublime century but the Central Punjab’s heroics were in vain as Sindh sneaked to a thrilling three-wicket victory on the penultimate ball of day one’s second fixture.
Chasing 189, Sindh got over the line thanks to a blazing knock from Asad Shafiq who slammed 45 off just 23 deliveries while striking four boundaries and two sixes. Asad and Sarfraz shared a quickfire partnership of 49 in only 20 balls before the former was caught by Babar off left-arm seamer Waqas Maqsood with the total on 136.
Upfront Khurram laid a perfect launching pad with a superb 42-ball contribution of 52 that included five fours and two sixes.
Sarfraz, who hit four boundaries in an 18-ball 30, and Anwar — 22 off 10 balls, three fours — maintained the tempo in another useful stand of 32 until the Pakistan captain was bowled by Faheem Ashraf but Anwar kept his cool to see Sindh home.
Earlier, it was all about Babar as the world’s top-ranked T20 batsman registered his third century in the format. He got to the coveted landmark from 58 balls by hoisting Anwar over the square-leg fence for his fifth six of the innings. The right-hander, who celebrates his 25th birthday on Tuesday, ended up making a 59-ball 102 which also was adorned with seven boundaries.
Umar Akmal (34 off 28 balls, two sixes and two fours) partnered Babar in a third-wicket partnership of 86 before Rizwan Hussain thrashed a 15-ball 31 (five fours and one six) in the unbroken stand of 63 with his captain.
First XI — Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad:
Balochistan beat Sindh by 52 runs.
BALOCHISTAN 233-6 in 20 overs (Awais Zia 77, Bismillah Khan 54, Amad Butt 31, Imam-ul-Haq 25; Mohammad Hasnain 3-42); SINDH 181 in 19.4 overs (Abid Ali 42, Sarfraz Ahmed 36, Khurram Manzoor 33, Saud Shakeel 28, Ahsan Ali 23; Amad Butt 3-32, Akif Javed 3-42).
Northern beat Southern Punjab by five wickets.
SOUTHERN PUNJAB 135-9 in 20 overs (Aamir Yamin 33, Sohaib Maqsood 25; Sohail Tanvir 3-27, Mohammad Amir 2-19); NORTHERN 137-5 in 19 overs (Umar Amin 50, Asif Ali 44 not out, Mohammad Nawaz 24; Mohammad Irfan 2-19).
Second XI — National Stadium, Karachi:
Sindh beat Balochistan by five wickets.
BALOCHISTAN 169 in 20 overs (Gulraiz Sadaf 58, Jalat Khan 45, Akbar-ur-Rehman 20; Hassaan Khan 2-28, Ghulam Mudassar 2-32); SINDH 170-5 in 18.5 overs (Mohammad Waqas 47, Jaahid Ali 36, Danish Aziz 27 not out, Ammad Alam 25; Jalat Khan 2-31).
Southern Punjab beat Northern by seven wickets.
NORTHERN 190-6 in 20 overs (Nauman Ali 67, Zeeshan Malik 35, Umair Khan 30; Mohammad Irfan Jr 2-43); SOUTHERN PUNJAB 191-3 in 18.3 overs (Zeeshan Ashraf 127 not out, Mohammad Mohsin 43 not out).
Sunday’s remaining result:
Sindh beat Central Punjab by three wickets.
CENTRAL PUNJAB 188-3 in 20 overs (Babar Azam 101 not out, Umar Akmal 34, Rizwan Hussain 31; Mohammad Hasnain 2-32); SINDH 192-7 in 19.5 overs (Khurram Manzoor 50, Asad Shafiq 45, Sarfraz Ahmed 30, Anwar Ali 22 not out; Waqas Maqsood 3-32, Usman Qadir 2-30, Faheem Ashraf 2-32).
First XI: Central Punjab vs Northern (1:30pm); Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Southern Punjab (5:30pm).
Second XI: Central Punjab vs Northern (9:30am); Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Southern Punjab (1:30pm).
Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2019