KARACHI: For the second time in three matches of the ongoing First XI National T20 Cup, Shaheen Shah Afridi bagged a five-for as the big fast bowler inspired Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to a clinical eight-wicket rout of Sindh in Multan on Monday.
The 20-year-old left-armer followed up his 5-20 against Balochistan last Friday with another rich haul of 5-21 as Sindh collected 183-7 at the Multan Cricket Stadium after being put into bat by Mohammad Rizwan.
Shaheen, who last month claimed career-best analysis of 6-19 during the T20 Blast competition while playing for Hampshire versus Middlesex at Southampton, sent back Khurram Manzoor for 17 with the fourth ball of his opening over and repeated the dose in the next over by removing Azam Khan (3).
After captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was dismissed by Wahab Riaz for just two to leave his team reeling at 54-3, Sindh restored parity through Sharjeel Khan and Ahsan Ali. Together they forged a partnership of 111 in 71 deliveries.
Sharjeel was the main beneficiary as far runs mattered. The left-handed opener thrashed 90 from 56 balls with the help of seven fours and six sixes but the return of Shaheen at the death saw his downfall when he was bowled in the 18th over after spinner Asif Afridi had got rid of Ahsan (42 off 32 balls, five fours and one six) on the last delivery of the preceding over.
Shaheen who was adjudged man-of-the-match, then made further inroads with the scalps of Anwar Ali (12) and Sohail Khan (0) in the final over of the innings.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lost Rizwan (8) early on in their chase but Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez put the rather pedestrian Sindh bowling to sword as the Pakistan duo shared a stand of exactly 100 from only 52 balls before Fakhar’s 41-ball knock of 61 (six fours and two sixes) was terminated by Anwar.
Hafeez, who became the second highest run-getter in the tournament, and Iftikhar Ahmed completed a miserable evening for Sarfaraz and his men by adding 60 without being separated. Hafeez’s 72 off 42 balls included four sixes and as many fours, while Iftikhar bludgeoned three sixes and a four in his 21-ball effort of 40.
It was Sindh’s second loss on the trot since they were also upstaged by defending champions Northern late on Sunday night on the back of a splendid innings of 84 from opener Zeeshan Malik.
Man-of-the-match Zeeshan — who leads the batting chart with 192 runs — struck a fluent 52-ball 84 (nine boundaries and a six) to enable Northern post 204-5 after Sarfaraz had chose to bowl first in a bid to take advantage of dew in the second half of the game.
But Sindh fell short of the target by 13 runs when their reply was curtailed to 191-7 despite handy contributions from the bats of Khurram (64 off 52, nine fours and one six) and Azam Khan (55 off 28, five sixes and four fours).
After four successive wins, Northern lead the standings with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa second with six points from four games. Sindh, on the other hand, have now lost two of their four matches.
When this report was being filed, third-placed Balochistan were playing struggling Central Punjab in Monday’s night fixture.
Scores in brief:
Played on Monday:
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Sindh by eight wickets.
SINDH 183-7 in 20 overs (Sharjeel Khan 90, Ahsan Ali 42; Shaheen Shah Afridi 5-21); KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 184-2 in 19 overs (Mohammad Hafeez 72 not out, Fakhar Zaman 61, Iftikhar Ahmed 40 not out; Anwar Ali 2-40).
Played on Sunday night:
Northern beat Sindh by 13 runs.
Northern 204-5 in 20 overs (Zeeshan Malik 84, Haider Ali 35, Ali Imran 27, Umar Amin 20 not out; Mohammad Hasnain 2-37, Sohail Khan 2-40); Sindh 191-7 in 20 overs (Khurram Manzoor 64, Azam Khan 55, Anwar Ali 37; Shadab Khan 2-34, Haris Rauf 2-38, Mohammad Nawaz 2-39).
Second XI summary on Monday:
Central Punjab beat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by eight runs.
CENTRAL PUNJAB 174-5 in 20 overs (Mohammad Akhlaq 52, Mohammad Saad 38 not out, Nauman Anwar 31; Mohammad Imran 2-24, Sameen Gul 2-41); KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 166 in 19.4 overs (Musadiq Ahmed 43, Adil Amin 39, Israrullah 20; Zubair Khan Lodhi 5-30, Waqas Maqsood 2-38).
Sindh beat Northern by six runs.
SINDH 149-7 in 20 overs (Rameez Aziz 32, Saifullah Khan Bangash 32, Hasan Mohsin 22 not out; Athar Mahmood 3-33, Aamir Jamal 2-30); NORTHERN 143-9 in 20 overs (Taimur Sultan 54, Umair Masood 29; Shahnawaz 4-19, Abrar Ahmed 2-30).
First XI: Central Punjab vs Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa (3:00pm); Balochistan vs Northern (7:30pm).
Second XI: Balochistan vs Northern (9:30am); Sindh vs Southern Punjab (1:30pm).
Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2020