KARACHI: Sindh completed a swift demolition of Balochistan on Monday to maintain their top slot in the Pakistan Cup, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are fractionally behind the leaders on net run rate after the sixth-round action.
Both Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa now have eight points apiece since Northern lost their third straight fixture — against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — to remain stuck on six points after starting the tournament with three victories. Northern and Central Punjab are third and fourth, respectively on net run rate with both outfits having six points each. Southern Punjab and Balochistan prop up the six-team standings by occupying the last two places with just four points under their belts.
The match at the UBL Sports Complex had finished before the break for lunch. After being sent into bat by Anwar Ali, Balochistan were shot out for 116 in 25.3 overs with slow left-armer Hassaan Khan grabbing 4-15 in 3.3 overs to claim the man-of-the-match award.
Sindh lost three wickets in their to left-arm paceman Taj Wali but Khurram Manzoor (56) and Danish Aziz (46) guided them home by putting on 95 in their unbroken partnership.
Northern did well initially after being asked to bat by Khalid Usman in the televised game at the SBP Sports Complex as they rattled up 324 all out in 49.2 overs. Pakistan T20 opener Haider batted fluently to hit up 95 with his 87-ball knock featuring nine boundaries and three sixes.
Other notable run-getters for Northern were Umar Amin (67) and captain Rohail Nazir (68) with the duo adding 112 for the third wicket.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s young pace trio of Irfanullah Shah (4-68) and List A debutants of Mohammad Imran (3-64) and Mohammad Wasim (3-70) shared all 10 wickets between them.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa stuttered in the chase when they two wickets for 41 runs but recovered brilliantly through the fourth-wicket stand of 168 from man-of-the-match Iftikhar Ahmed — the day’s only century-maker with a splendid 110-ball knock of 123 (12 fours and three sixes) — Adil Amin, who remained undefeated on (3 (78 balls, five fours and four sixes).
Despite Mukhtar Ahmed striking 94 off 98 deliveries (nine fours and three sixes), while sharing an opening stand of 133 with the returning skipper Shan Masood (49), Southern Punjab were restricted to 232 all out in 45.2 overs after Central Punjab skipper Saad Nasim opted to field first at the NBP Sports Complex.
Central Punjab cruised to victory with five overs to spare by posting 235-5 with Usman Salahuddin (unbeaten 67) and Tayyab Tahir (60) leading the way before Mukhtar was declared man-of-the-match.
Results on Monday:
At SBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Northern by five wickets.
NORTHERN 324 in 49.2 overs (Haider Ali 95, Rohail Nazir 68, Umar Amin 67, Hammad Azam 36; Irfanullah Shah 4-68, Mohammad Imran 3-64, Mohammad Wasim 3-70); KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 327-5 in 48.2 overs (Iftikhar Ahmed 123, Adil Amin 93 not out, Fakhar Zaman 42, Khalid Usman 27 not out, Sahibzada Farhan 20; Athar Mahmood 3-76).
At UBL Sports Complex, Karachi: Sindh beat Balochistan by seven wickets.
BALOCHISTAN 1116 in 25.3 overs (Imran Farhat 32, Ayaz Tasawwar 21;
Hassaan Khan 4-15, Mir Hamza 2-36); SINDH 118-3 in 19.5 overs (Khurram Manzoor 56 not out, Danish Aziz 46 not out; Taj Wali 3-35).
At NBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Central Punjab beat Southern Punjab by five wickets.
SOUTHERN PUNJAB 232 in 45.2 overs (Mukhtar Ahmed 94, Shan Masood 49, Sohaib Maqsood 24; Raza Ali Dar 3-37, Zafar Gohar 3-65, Usman Qadir 2-51); CENTRAL PUNJAB 235-5 in 45 overs (Usman Salahuddin 67 not out, Tayyab Tahir 60, Saad Nasim 42, Qasim Akram 22 not out; Zahid Mahmood 2-52).
Wednesday’s fixtures (matches start at 9:30am PST): Sindh vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (SBP Sports Complex, Karachi); Central Punjab vs Northern (UBL Sports Complex, Karachi); Southern Punjab vs Balochistan (NBP Sports Complex, Karachi).
Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2021