KARACHI: Northern’s unbeaten three-match streak in the Pakistan Cup came a shuddering halt on Thursday when they capitulated to a four-wicket defeat against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on a spinners’ paradise at the NBP Sports Complex.
But it was Tayyab Tahir who stole the limelight in the fourth-round action with a maiden one-day century which inspired Central Punjab to their first triumph when they upstaged Southern Punjab in their derby clash at the SBP Sports Complex.
Balochistan, meanwhile, overcame a disastrous start to their chase — they were three wickets down for two runs —to seal a three-wicket victory against Sindh at the UBL Sports Complex.
The ongoing competition saw fifth 300-plus team score in four fixtures at the SBP Sports Complex where the team batting second went onto win the match. Southern Punjab, who scored eight runs from as many overs upfront, posted 320-9 with major contributions coming from Waqar Hussain (70 off 64 balls, six fours and one six), Sohaib Maqsood (60 off 49, five sixes and five fours) and returning skipper Hussain Talat (60 off 64, five fours and two sixes).
Rizwan Hussain began Central Punjab’s chase with a blistering 76 (37 balls, seven sixes and seven fours) while putting on 103 for the first wicket with Tayyab, who was declared man-of-the-match for his sterling undefeated innings of 131 (140 balls, 12 boundaries and two sixes).
Northern never recovered when they slipped to 65-6 by the 22nd over after they were sent in by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and were ultimately dismissed for 112 in the 36.4 overs with Faizan Riaz emerging as the top scorer (42 off 83 balls). The spin quintet of Iftikhar Ahmed (3-12), Asif Afridi (2-16), Khalid Usman, Kamran Ghulam and man-of-the-match Sajid Khan shared eight wickets between them.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also found going tough but Sajid’s unbeaten 20 catapulted them to the top of the standings with a superior net run-rate to that of Northern with both teams equal on six points.
Danish Aziz (52 off 71), Azam Khan (54 of 55, six boundaries) and captain Saud Shakeel (43) were the main run-getters for Sindh, who collected 239-9 in 47 overs after being asked to bat first by Balochistan in a game which started late because of overnight dew.
Amad Butt grabbed 5-54 with his medium-pacers while sending a timely nudge to the new chairman of national selection committee Mohammad Wasim — who is due to unveil a 20-man preliminary Pakistan squad here on Friday for the upcoming Test series against South Africa — in a man-of-the-match performance before Balochistan lost Bismillah Khan, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai and Akbar-ur-Rehman for ducks in quest for victory.
Captain Imran Farhat (59 off 65, nine fours) and Ayaz Tasawwar (69 off 107, eight boundaries) stitched together a fourth-wicket partnership of 100 before Balochistan celebrated their second victory with just three balls to spare.
Results on Thursday:
At SBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Central Punjab beat Southern Punjab by six wickets.
SOUTHERN PUNJAB 320-9 in 50 overs (Waqar Hussain 70, Sohaib Maqsood 60, Hussain Talat 60, Mohammad Imran 46, Mohammad Ilyas 32; Ahmed Bashir 3-51, Raza Ali Dar 3-67, Zubair Khan Lodhi 2-77); CENTRAL PUNJAB 321-6 in 40.1 overs (Tayyab Tahir 131 not out, Rizwan Hussain 76, Qasim Akram 46, Saad Nasim 24; Mohammad Imran 2-39, Zahid Mahmood 2-61).
At UBL Sports Complex, Karachi: Balochistan beat Sindh by three wickets.
SINDH 239-9 in 47 overs (Danish Aziz 54, Azam Khan 52, Asad Shafiq 43, Khurram Manzoor 32; Amad Butt 5-54, Kashif Bhatti 2-38); BALOCHISTAN 240-7 in 46.3 overs (Ayaz Tasawwar 69, Imran Farhat 59, Kashif Bhatti 40 not out, Amad Butt 28, Umaid Asif 20; Mohammad Hasnain 3-36, Anwar Ali 2-53).
At NBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Northern by four wickets.
NORTHERN 112 in 36.4 overs (Faizan Riaz 42; Iftikhar Ahmed 3-12, Asif Afridi 2-16, Irfanullah Shah 2-20); KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 113-6 in 23.1 overs (Sajid Khan 20 not out; Mubasir Khan 3-20).
Saturday’s fixtures (all matches start at 9:30am PST):
Northern vs Sindh (SBP Sports Complex, Karachi); Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Southern Punjab (UBL Sports Complex, Karachi); Balochistan vs Central Punjab (NBP Sports Complex, Karachi).
Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2021