KP fly high as Shaheen stars with five-for

Published October 3, 2020
MULTAN: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa spinner Asif Afridi traps  Balochistan’s Bismillah Khan LBW during their First XI National T20 Cup match at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Friday.—APP
MULTAN: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa spinner Asif Afridi traps Balochistan’s Bismillah Khan LBW during their First XI National T20 Cup match at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Friday.—APP

KARACHI: Inspired by incisive bowling from Shaheen Shah Afridi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cantered to an eight-wicket drubbing over Balochistan in their First XI fixture while chalking up their first success of the National T20 Cup in Multan on Friday.

Shaheen, the gangling Pakistan fast bowler, dismissed openers Imam-ul-Haq (9) and Awais Zia (24 off 16 balls, five fours) upfront before returning at the death to claim three more wickets to end up with excellent figures of 5-20 from his four-over quota.

Opting to bat first seemed inevitable given the placid pitch and quick outfield at the Multan Cricket Stadium, Balochistan — who sealed a thrilling victory against Sindh by two runs 24 hours earlier — lost momentum during the middle overs. Skipper Haris Sohail was unable to free his arms while making 29 from 30 deliveries. The left-hander hoisted a brace of sixes and a four before falling to his Pakistan team-mate Usman Khan Shinwari.

Imran Butt was the top scorer with a 32-ball knock of 37 that included two fours and one six and was caught in the deep off Wahab Riaz in a futile attempt to accelerate. The only other batsmen to enter double figures were Bismillah Khan (16) and ex-Pakistan batsman Imran Farhat (10).

Shaheen then swiftly polished off the lower-order with the scalps of Amad Butt (4) and Yasir Shah on successive deliveries before sending back Umaid Asif for seven.

Wahab, who had a horrendous outing against defending champions Northern on Wednesday with figures of 0-51 in three overs, took 1-24 in four and slow left-armer Asif Afridi 1-19 in three overs. But Shinwari’s four overs cost 48 runs while he picked up two wickets.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s chase was untroubled and Fakhar Zaman set the tone with three boundaries in the opening over from upcoming seamer Akif Javed. But the left-hander once again threw away a good start when he was caught behind off Amad for a 19-ball 25.

Mohammad Rizwan, who was promoted as opener, ended up scoring an undefeated 57 with the wicket-keeper’s 42-ball innings containing five fours and two sixes. He played second fiddle to Mohammad Hafeez (45 off 25, five fours and three sixes) during their partnership of 66.

Iftikhar Ahmed (29 off 16 balls) ended the game by lifting leg-spinner Usama Mir for a six.

In Thursday’s night clash, Northern made it two wins from as many fixtures when they condemned Southern Punjab to their second straight loss.

Ali Imran was the star performer with a 39-ball 50 (five sixes and three fours) as the champions reached 203-5 after electing to bat upon winning the toss.

Southern Punjab’s reply ended at 176-9 despite opener Zeeshan Ashraf blasting 73 off just 38 balls with the aid of eight boundaries.

Fast bowler Haris Rauf bagged 4-24 in four overs but skipper Shadab Khan was declared man-of-the-match for his 14-ball cameo of 28 and 3-30 with his leg-spinners.

Scores in brief:

First XI:

Played on Friday:

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Balochistan by eight wickets.

BALOCHISTAN 152-9 in 20 overs (Imran Butt 37, Haris Sohail 29, Awais Zia 24; Shaheen Shah Afridi 5-20, Usman Khan Shinwari 2-48); KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 157-2 in 17 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 57 not out, Mohammad Hafeez 45, Iftikhar Ahmed 29 not out, Fakhar Zaman 25).

Played on Thursday night:

Northern beat Southern Punjab by 27 runs.

NORTHERN 203-5 in 20 overs (Ali Imran 50, Mohammad Nawaz 31 not out, Asif Ali 29 not out, Haider Ali 28, Shadab Khan 28; Zahid Mahmood 3-35, Mohammad Irfan 2-35); SOUTHERN PUNJAB 176-9 in 20 overs (Zeeshan Ashraf 73, Umar Siddique 33; Haris Rauf 4-24, Shadab Khan 3-30).

Second XI summary on Friday:

Sindh beat Balochistan by five wickets.

BALOCHISTAN 163-5 in 20 overs (Abdul Wahid 73, Azeem Ghumman 34, Ayaz Tasawwar 27); SINDH 164-5 in 19.3 overs (Hasan Mohsin 71 not out, Saad Ali 33, Ammad Alam 23; Najibullah 2-29).

Southern Punjab beat Northern by seven wickets.

NORTHERN 147-8 in 20 overs (Nasir Nawaz 29, Umair Masood 26; Mohammad Irfan 3-35, Zia-ul-Haq 2-25, Salman Ali 2-28); SOUTHERN PUNJAB 148-3 in 18.3 overs (Zain Abbas 90 not out, Tayyab Tahir 40; Athar Mahmood 2-20).

Saturday’s fixtures:

First XI: Central Punjab vs Northern (3:00pm); Southern Punjab vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (7:30pm).

Second XI: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Southern Punjab (9:30am); Central Punjab vs Balochistan (1:30pm).

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2020

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