KARACHI: The first-round action in the Pakistan Cup on Friday saw Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Southern Punjab both comfortably chase down 300-plus totals and five batsmen post centuries across the three matches.
In the televised fixture at the SBP Sports Complex, Southern Punjab rode on an Agha Salman’s second List A ton to hand Sindh a four-wicket defeat with nine deliveries to spare.
Chasing a target of 310, Southern Punjab launched their innings with a solid opening partnership of 79 between Zain Abbas and Zeeshan Ashraf (28) inside the first 14 overs. But Zain was later forced to retire hurt after being struck a painful blow on his leg by paceman Mir Hamza with the score on 116-1.
But the opener returned at the fall of the sixth wicket to finish unbeaten with a 79-ball 75 (nine boundaries), while man-of-the-match Salman ended up scoring 106 from just 75 balls with the help of nine fours — including the winning boundary off Hamza — and three sixes.
Earlier in the day Sindh lost their way in the death overs after heading for a bigger total than 309 all out in 49.1 overs after they were sent into bat by Sohaib Maqsood. Skipper Saud Shakeel hit up a 78-ball 60 (three fours) but the powerfully-built Azam Khan, in sharp contrast, top-scored with a buccaneering 36-ball knock of 69 that included eight boundaries and three sixes.
Aaron Summers, the first Australian cricketer to feature in any domestic competition in Pakistan, had a mixed debut. Coming on a second change, the 24-year-old right-arm paceman grabbed three wickets for 72 runs in his 10 overs. Mohammad Ilyas was the best bowler as the 21-year-old took 3-36 in 7.1 overs.
Central Punjab badly missed their inspirational skipper Hasan Ali when they suffered a five-wicket loss against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at the NBP Sports Complex just three days after both these sides shared the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy title after the final ended in a thrilling tie at the National Stadium.
Inserted in by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa captain Khalid Usman, Central Punjab collected 305-7 on the back of three-figure contributions from Mohammad Akhlaq (177 off 115 balls, eight fours and four sixes) and stand-in skipper Saad Nasim (101 off 86, seven fours and four sixes) as the pair put on 210 for the fourth wicket.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa got over the line by reaching 311-5 midway through the 47th over. Fakhar Zaman returned to form with a 69-ball 70 (five fours and three sixes). But the star performer was Musadiq Ahmed, who was adjudged man-of-the-match for his 87-ball unbeaten innings of 103 (seven fours and three sixes).
Ex-Pakistan left-hander Umar Amin inspired Northern to a 36-run victory over Balochistan at the UBL Sports Complex. Umar anchored the Northern’s innings of 285-7 by striking an undefeated 115 (136 balls, seven fours and two sixes), while skipper Mohammad Nawaz scored a 65-ball 60 with six boundaries.
Balochistan’s chase was disappointing as they slipped from 160-3 in the 32nd over to 249 all out in 46.3 overs with skipper Imran Farhat emerging as the highest scorer for them with a 46-ball 49.
Results on Friday:
At SBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Southern Punjab beat Sindh by four wickets.
SINDH 309 in 49.1 overs (Azam Khan 69, Saud Shakeel 60, Asad Shafiq 45, Sharjeel Khan 44, Hassaan Khan 38 not out, Anwar Ali 23; Mohammad Ilyas 3-36, A.W. Summers 3-72, Mohammad Imran 2-47); SOUTHERN PUNJAB 311-6 in 48.3 overs (Agha Salman 106 not out, Zain Abbas 75, Sohaib Maqsood 36, Zeeshan Ashraf 28; Anwar Ali 2-60, Mohammad Umar 2-60).
At UBL Sports Complex, Karachi: Northern beat Balochistan by 36 runs.
NORTHERN 285-7 in 50 overs (Umar Amin 115 not out, Mohammad Nawaz 60, Ali Imran 27, Hammad Azam 20; Raza-ul-Hasan 2-39, Umaid Asif 2-54); BALOCHISTAN 249 in 46.3 overs (Imran Farhat 49, Ayaz Tasawwar 44, Bismillah Khan 38, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai 36, Akbar-ur-Rehman 24; Aamir Jamal 2-24, Mohammad Nawaz 2-47, Mubasir Khan 2-49).
At NBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Central Punjab by five wickets.
CENTRAL PUNJAB 305-7 in 50 overs (Mohammad Akhlaq 117, Saad Nasim 101, Rizwan Hussain 48, Mohammad Saad 20; Arshad Iqbal 2-63); KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 311-5 in 46.3 overs (Musadiq Ahmed 103 not out, Fakhar Zaman 70, Israrullah 46, Khalid Usman 35 not out; Waqas Maqsood 3-43).
Sunday’s fixtures: Northern vs Central Punjab (SBP Sports Complex, Karachi); Balochistan vs Southern Punjab (UBL Sports Complex, Karachi); Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Sindh NBP Sports Complex, Karachi).
Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2021