KARACHI: Central Punjab suffered an inexplicable batting calamity as trophy-holders Northern surged to their third victory on the trot in the First XI segment of the National T20 Cup in Multan on Saturday.
Chasing 156 at the Multan Cricket Stadium, Central Punjab were very much in the contest at 90-3 in the 13th over before losing the remaining seven wickets for the addition of just 30 runs in as many deliveries to the pace duo of Mohammad Musa Khan (3-23) and Haris Rauf (3-26).
Remarkably no batsman managed to reach 50 from either team with Test opener Abid Ali’s 36 off 33 balls being the highest individual score of the game.
Shadab Khan once again led from the front in second straight man-of-the-match performance. The Pakistan all-rounder first emerged as the top-scorer with a 17-ball 30 (two sixes and two fours) to enable Northern collect 155-8 — after Central Punjab, for a change, had elected to bowl upon winning the toss — before claiming 2-25 in his quota of four overs.
At the time of filing this report, Southern Punjab were playing the resurgent Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in an attempt to avoid a third straight loss in the tournament.
Sindh, meanwhile, bounced back in some style after their heartbreaking two-run loss to Balochistan on Thursday by completing a comfortable seven-wicket victory against Central Punjab in Friday’s night fixture.
After restricting Central Punjab to 154-7 on a sluggish pitch that got slower with the batsmen struggling to play expansive drives, Sharjeel Khan and Khurram Manzoor combined to share a superb opening stand of 134 inside 17 overs with both Pakistan discards completing half-centuries.
Sharjeel claimed the man-of-the-match award for his robust 56-ball innings of 77 which was embedded with nine boundaries and a brace of sixes. The left-hander from Hyderabad holed out rather tamely to mid-off off Ehsan Adil.
Khurram fell while trying to drive Naseem Shah in the next over with no addition to the total. The right-hander’s 50 from 46 deliveries included six hits to the fence.
Azam Khan bludgeoned successive sixes off Ehsan but then found himself being trapped leg-before-wicket for 13 on the very next ball. However, the result was never in doubt.
Earlier Abid Ali compiled 56 off 40 balls (six fours and one six), while teenaged Pakistan Under-19 batsman Qasim Akram marked his second T20 appearance with a breezy 13-ball cameo of 24 (four boundaries).
Veteran Pakistan paceman Sohail Khan picked three wickets for 33 runs with slow left-armer Mohammad Asghar grabbing 2-22.
Scores in brief:
Played on Saturday:
Northern beat Central Punjab by 35 runs.
NORTHERN 155-8 in 20 overs (Shadab Khan 30, Asif Ali 24, Rohail Nazir 21 not out, Umar Amin 21, Zeeshan Malik 20; Usman Qadir 3-28); CENTRAL PUNJAB 120 in 18.1 overs (Abid Ali 36, Abdullah Shafiq 20; Mohammad Musa Khan 3-23, Haris Rauf 3-26, Sohail Tanvir 2-15, Shadab Khan 2-25).
Played on Friday night:
Sindh beat Central Punjab by seven wickets.
CENTRAL PUNJAB 154-7 in 20 overs (Abid Ali 56, Qasim Akram 24, Usman Qadir 20 not out; Sohail Khan 3-33, Mohammad Asghar 2-22); SINDH 155-3 in 18.5 overs (Sharjeel Khan 77, Khurram Manzoor 50; Ehsan Adil 2-29).
Second XI summary on Saturday:
Central Punjab beat Balochistan by 17 runs.
CENTRAL PUNJAB 142-7 in 20 overs (Raza Ali Dar 39, Mohammad Saad 36; Akhtar Shah 4-26); BALOCHISTAN 125-9 in 20 overs (Ayaz Tasawwar 48, Abdul Nasir 24; Waqas Maqsood 2-16, Bilawal Iqbal 2-20).
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Southern Punjab by 10 wickets.
SOUTHERN PUNJAB 140-8 in 20 overs (Salman Ali 88; Mohammad Sarwar 3-10); KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 145-0 in 16.2 overs (Israrullah 71 not out, Musadiq Ahmed 62 not out).
First XI: Southern Punjab vs Balochistan (3:00pm); Sindh vs Northern (7: 30pm).
Second XI: Sindh vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (9:30am); Central Punjab vs Southern Punjab (1:30pm).
Published in Dawn, October 4th, 2020