KARACHI: While Sindh became the first side to confirm their semi-final qualification in the Pakistan Cup on Friday, a trio of Test discards made signification contributions to keep Southern Punjab and Balochistan in the hunt for next week’s knockout round.
Sindh’s win over Northern, their sixth victory in eight matches, was set up by Khurram Manzoor who recorded his 26th one-day century as the ex-Pakistan opener — adjudged man-of-the-match — hit 122 (off 138 balls, 15 fours and one six) while inspiring his team to 277-6 after Northern opted to bowl first at the NBP Sports Complex.
Northern, in reply, were dismissed for 264 on the final ball of the innings despite Hammad Azam scoring a 65-ball 70 (five sixes and four fours) and Haider Ali 55.
Sindh’s star with the ball was Danish Aziz, who snared four wickets for 32 runs in nine overs with his slow left-armers.
Southern Punjab jumped to second in the standings on a better net run-rate after Mohammad Abbas and Shan Masood starred for them exactly a week after both were not considered for selection in the 20-man Pakistan squad for the upcoming two-Test series against South Africa due to their poor run of form.
Southern Punjab defeated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by five wickets at the UBL Sports Complex. Seamer Abbas excelled with 4-40 in 9.5 overs as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reached 244 after being put into bat by Shan.
Shan then top-scored in the chase as the opener struck 91 from 122 deliveries with the aid nine boundaries and together with fellow left-hander Khushdil Shah, who slammed run-a-ball 71 (six fours and two sixes), put on 102 for the fourth wicket before Southern Punjab got over the line in 48.2 overs. The man-of-the-match award was split between Shan and Abbas.
Haris Sohail was third Pakistan reject, also due to a wretched form with the bat, to redeem himself after losing his Test spot last week. The left-hander from Sialkot guided Balochistan to a critical four-wicket triumph over Central Punjab during the televised fixture at the SBP Sports Complex.
Central Punjab, who were invited to bat first by Haris, were curtailed to 296-7 in their 50 overs. The high point of their innings was a maiden List A ton from teenager Qasim Akram. The 18-year-old right-hander shot into prominence by contributing an undefeated 108 (81 balls, 14 fours and one six) and dominated the fifth-wicket partnership of 131 with Zafar Gohar (48).
Balochistan got home with just two balls to spare, thanks to the unbeaten 109 from Haris, who thrashed five sixes and as many fours during 99-ball match-winning knock. Opener Bismillah khan had earlier batted briskly to strike a 60-ball 73 that included seven fours and one six.
The penultimate round of the preliminary phase is scheduled for Sunday.
Results on Friday:
At SBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Balochistan beat Central Punjab by six wickets.
CENTRAL PUNJAB 296-7 in 50 overs (Qasim Akram 108 not out, Zafar Gohar 48, Tayyab Tahir 42, Raza Ali Dar 30; Jalat Khan 2-40); BALOCHISTAN 302-4 in 49.4 overs (Haris Sohail 109 not out, Bismillah Khan 73, Azeem Ghumman 38, Akbar-ur-Rehman 38).
At UBL Sports Complex, Karachi: Southern Punjab beat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by five wickets.
KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 244 in 45.5 overs (Khalid Usman 56, Mohammad Haris 54, Adil Amin 39, Musadiq Ahmed 37, Fakhar Zaman 25; Mohammad Abbas 4-40, Zahid Mahmood 2-28); SOUTHERN PUNJAB 246-5 in 48.2 overs (Shan Masood 91, Khushdil Shah 71, Mukhtar Ahmed 36).
At NBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Sindh beat Northern by 13 runs.
SINDH 277-6 in 50 overs (Khurram Manzoor 122, Anwar Ali 56 not out, Danish Aziz 28, Saad Ali 25, Hassaan Khan 25; Mohammad Musa Khan 2-43); NORTHERN 264 in 50 overs (Hammad Azam 70, Haider Ali 55, Zeeshan Malik 44, Taimoor Sultan 29; Danish Aziz 4-32, Mohammad Umar 2-49, Mir Hamza 2-61).
Sunday’s fixtures (matches start at 9:30am PST): Sindh vs Southern Punjab (SBP Sports Complex, Karachi); Central Punjab vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (UBL Sports Complex, Karachi); Northern vs Balochistan (NBP Sports Complex, Karachi).
Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2021