KARACHI: Three matches and as many losses, that how’s the National T20 Cup logbook mentions against Southern Punjab.
Number three again figures prominently in the sorry tale of misfortunes for the last season’s runners-up as the Twenty20 World Cup-bound trio of Sohaib Maqsood, Khushdil Shah and Azam Khan all failed to fire for the third time on the trot.
Balochistan, the other side who had not won until Sunday’s seven-wicket stroll at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi, humiliated Southern Punjab to the extent of dismissing them for a paltry 101 — the lowest total thus far in the ongoing edition — in the 18th over.
Southern Punjab, opting to bat after Sohaib won the toss, seemed to recover despite losing Zain Abbas on the first legitimate ball of the game after Khurram Shehzad bowled a wide. The captain and Zeeshan Ashraf added 45 before the rot set in.
Sohaib (24 off 19 balls) had settled in well but a rush of blood saw him slice a catch to Ayaz Tasawwar at point. Zeeshan (18) then holed out to Yasir Shah’s first delivery of his spell after the Test leggie had hurt his right thumb while trying to field earlier.
Khushdil, who scored just 6, hit straight down the lap of Junaid Khan at long off when he unnecessarily charged at slow left-armer Kashif Bhatti. Azam (1) was aghast when Ghaffar Kazmi declared him caught behind off Yasir as his side slumped to 61-5. But there was no doubt when Bismillah Khan caught an under-edge from Aamir Yamin.
Hassaan Khan, promoted up the order in the absence of rested Mohammad Imran Randhawa, was as hapless as his team with the clatter of wickets around him. He had seen Bismillah hold a brilliant one-handed low to his right when Zia-ul-Haq attempted to dab Amad Butt.
While Amad polished off the tail swiftly, fellow seamer Umaid removed Hassaan for 19. Amad, adjudged player-of-the-match, and Yasir shared six wickets between them with Umaid picking up a brace.
After their demolition act with the ball, Balochistan lost skipper Imam-ul-Haq early in the chase, which was nicely supervised by Abdul Wahid Bangalzai. The 18-year-old right-hander, who has represented the country at the under-19 level, notched up his maiden half-century in his seventh T20 appearance.
Wahid’s 58 from 55 balls were embedded with five boundaries and one six. He put on 57 for the second wicket with Bismillah (28 off 29). Haris Sohail marked his return to competitive cricket after an eight-month hiatus with a brief knock at the end as Balochistan won with 16 balls to spare.
The event will take a two-day break after Sunday’s night fixture between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Central Punjab.
Zain Abbas lbw b Khurram 0
Zeeshan Ashraf c Umaid b Yasir 18
Sohaib Maqsood c Ayaz b Umaid 24
Hassaan Khan c Wahid b Umaid 19
Khushdil Shah c Junaid b Kashif 6
Azam Khan c Bismillah b Yasir 1
Aamir Yamin c Bismillah b Yasir 3
Zia-ul-Haq c Bismillah b Amad 9
Mohammad Ilyas c Ayaz b Amad 3
Faisal Akram b Amad 7
Naseem Shah not out 5
EXTRAS (LB-4, W-2) 6
TOTAL (all out, 17.5 overs) 101
FALL OF WKTS: 1-1, 2-46, 3-50, 4-57, 5-61, 6-71, 7-86, 8-88, 9-89.
BOWLING: Khurram Shehzad 3-0-19-1 (1w); Junaid Khan 2-0-16-0; Umaid Asif 2-0-14-2 (1w); Amad Butt 3.5-0-11-3; Yasir Shah 4-0-19-3; Kashif Bhatti 3-0-18-1.
Imam-ul-Haq c Azam b Naseem 8
Abdul Wahid Bangalzai not out 58
Bismillah Khan c Aamir b Khushdil 28
Amad Butt c and b Hassaan 3
Haris Sohail not out 3
EXTRAS (LB-2) 2
TOTAL (for three wkts, 17.2 overs) 102
FALL OF WKTS: 1-17, 2-74, 3-87.
DID NOT BAT: Ayaz Tasawwar, Kashif Bhatti, Umaid Asif, Yasir Shah, Khurram Shehzad, Junaid Khan.
BOWLING: Zia-ul-Haq 4-0-29-0 (2w); Naseem Shah 3-0-10-1; Faisal Akram 4-0-24-0; Hassaan Khan 4-0-25-1; Khushdil Shah 2.2-0-14-1.
RESULT: Balochistan won by seven wickets.
UMPIRES: Rashid Riaz and Ghaffar Kazmi.
TV UMPIRE: Aftab Gillani.
MATCH REFEREE: Nadeem Arshad.
PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Amad Butt.
WEDNESDAY’S FIXTURES: Sindh vs Balochistan (3:00pm PST); Northern vs Southern Punjab (7:30pm PST).
Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2021