SOUTHERN Punjab’s Sohaib Maqsood returns after scoring 101 against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at the NBP Sports Complex on Saturday.—PCB
SOUTHERN Punjab’s Sohaib Maqsood returns after scoring 101 against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at the NBP Sports Complex on Saturday.—PCB

KARACHI: Sindh emerged as new leaders as the Pakistan Cup leaderboard saw a change for the second time in three days after a blazing Sharjeel Khan century guided them to a seven-wicket victory over Northern at the SBP Sports Complex here on Saturday.

Northern had launched the one-day competition with three straight victories before their unbeaten run was halted on Thursday by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who replaced them at the top before losing their spot to Sindh after Southern Punjab humbled them by eight wickets in their fifth-round clash at the NBP Sports Complex.

Central Punjab continued their recovery after chalking a second triumph in three days while making up for three losses upfront. Their latest victims were Balochistan, who suffered a four-wicket debacle at the UBL Sports Complex.

Anwar Ali, who had taken over the reins after appointed Sindh skipper Saud Shakeel’s call-up on Friday in the 20-man Pakistan squad for the South Africa series, saw his decision to field vindicated as Northern were bowled out for 186 with Asif Ali (66) and Sohail Tanvir (49) the main scorers.

Mir Hamza and all-rounder Danish Aizaz bagged three wickets each before Sharjeel blasted 108 off 74 balls (13 fours and five sixes) in the first-wicket partnership of 160 with Khurram Manzoor (52). Sindh lost two more wickets in winning convincingly at the start of the 29th over.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa posted 319-9 on the back of captain Khalid Usman’s career-best unbeaten knock 91 (off 74 balls, six sixes and five fours). Khalid added 119 for the seventh-wicket with young Mohammad Haris (68).

But Southern Punjab needed just 40.3 overs to register their second success with Mukhtar Ahmed (undefeated 108 off 109 balls, 11 fours and three sixes), Sohaib Maqsood (101 off 58, 11 fours and seven sixes) and skipper Hussain Talat (a 64-ball unbeaten 100 (seven sixes and five fours) leading them home.

Balochistan were in the mire at 101-8 in 26 overs but recovered to collect 213 all out with Kashif Bhatti (59) and Jalat Khan (55) adding 104 for the ninth wicket.

Leg-spinner Usman Qadir returned figures of 4-41 in 10 overs before Central Punjab got over the line at 214-6 in 46 overs, thanks to Qasim Akram’s undefeated 60.

Results on Saturday:

Fifth round:

At SBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Sindh beat Northern by seven wickets.

NORTHERN 186 in 44.2 overs (Asif Ali 66, Sohail Tanvir 49, Hammad Azam 22; Danish Aziz 3-23, Mir Hamza 3-36); SINDH 187-3 in 28.1 overs (Sharjeel Khan 108, Khurram Manzoor 52; Hammad Azam 2-21).

At UBL Sports Complex, Karachi: Southern Punjab beat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by eight wickets.

KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 316-9 in 50 overs (Khalid Usman 91 not out, Adil Amin 34, Israrullah 32, Iftikhar Ahmed 32, Fakhar Zaman 30; Ali Shafiq 3-46, Mohammad Imran 2-82); SOUTHERN PUNJAB 319-2 in 40.3 overs (Mukhtar Ahmed 108 not out, Sohaib Maqsood 101, Hussain Talat 100 not out).

At NBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Central Punjab beat Balochistan by four wickets.

BALOCHISTAN 213 in 48 overs (Kashif Bhatti 59, Jalat Khan 55, Awais Zia 25, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai 20; Usman Qadir 4-41, Kamran Afzal 2-35, Ahmed Bashir 2-66); CENTRAL PUNJAB 214-6 in 46 overs (Qasim Akram 60 not out, Tayyab Tahir 47, Rizwan Hussain 31, Saad Nasim 26, Junaid Ali 21; Raza-ul-Hasan 4-36, Jalat Khan 2-42).

Monday’s fixtures (all matches start at 9:30am PST): Northern vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (SBP Sports Complex, Karachi); Sindh vs Balochistan (UBL Sports Complex, Karachi); Southern Punjab vs Central Punjab (NBP Sports Complex, Karachi).

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2021

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