LAHORE: It was an abject surrender as Southern Punjab’s wretched National T20 Cup campaign came to a shuddering halt in Lahore.
Friday’s night fixture at the Gaddafi Stadium saw last season’s runners-up suffered their seventh defeat in nine matches of this edition, while Sindh temporarily surged to the top of the table on the back of Sharjeel Khan’s swashbuckling century and a sensational hat-trick from seamer Rumman Raees Khan.
After a run of modest scores, the hard-hitting Sharjeel finally struck gold. The left-handed opener from Hyderabad hammered a scintillating 101 from mere 56 deliveries to lift Sindh to a healthy 196-7 in captain Sarfaraz Ahmed’s last game in the tournament.
Sarfaraz had an evening to remember after he was belatedly recalled to the Pakistan squad in place of the originally selected Southern Punjab wicket-keeper/batter Azam Khan. The former Pakistan captain made 17 off 12 balls before being caught by Azam after adding 53 with Sharjeel for the fourth wicket, which turned out to be the biggest partnership of the match.
While player-of-the-match Sharjeel smashed 13 fours and four sixes, mainly in his favoured arc between mid on and fine leg, only fellow left-handers Shan Masood (22) and Saud Shakeel (26) surpassed the 20-run mark in the Sindh innings after Aamir Yamin chose to field first.
The response by Southern Punjab was nothing short of a disaster as wickets fell regularly and the solitary stand of note was when Tayyab Tahir — the top scorer with a 23-ball 32 (six boundaries) — and Salman Ali Agha (21) put on 43 for the second wicket.
All-rounders Mohammad Imran Randhawa (29 off 20) and captain Aamir Yamin (27 off 18) made useful contributions but it hardly mattered at all.
The miserable Azam couldn’t make much impact when a wild heave against the spin of left-armer Danish Aziz resulted in a top-edge, which was gleefully gobbled by Sarfaraz.
Rumman infused excitement at the backend of the innings when he dismissed Hassaan Khan (7), Aamir and Naseem Shah (0) on consecutive deliveries of his third over to finish with 3-23, while there were two wickets each for Anwar Ali, Danish and Zahid Mahmood.
Ahsan Ali c and b Aamir 5
Sharjeel Khan c Moinuddin b Naseem 101
Shan Masood c Azam b Imran 22
Saud Shakeel c Zeeshan b Imran 26
Sarfaraz Ahmed c Azam b Zia 13
Anwar Ali c Azam b Naseem 17
Rumman Raees Khan not out 0
Danish Aziz run out 1
EXTRAS (B-5, LB-2, W-4) 11
TOTAL (for seven wkts, 20 overs) 196
FALL OF WKTS: 1-6, 2-43, 3-99, 4-152, 5-189, 6-195, 7-196.
DID NOT BAT: Sohail Khan, Zahid Mahmood, Mir Hamza.
BOWLING: Aamir Yamin 3-0-23-1; Naseem Shah 4-0-49-2; Mohammad Imran Randhawa 4-0-32-2; Salman Ali Agha 2-0-18-0; Ali Majid 3-0-25-0 (2w); Zia-ul-Haq 4-0-42-1 (2w).
Zeeshan Ashraf c Shan b Sohail 1
Tayyab Tahir c Saud b Anwar 32
Salman Ali Agha c Anwar b Zahid 21
Azam Khan c Sarfaraz b Danish 2
Moinuddin lbw b Anwar 11
M. Imran Randhawa c Anwar b Zahid 29
Aamir Yamin c Anwar b Rumman 27
Hassaan Khan c Danish b Rumman 7
Zia-ul-Haq c Rumman b Danish 12
Naseem Shah b Rumman 0
Ali Majid not out 3
EXTRAS (LB-2, W-4) 6
TOTAL (all out, 18.5 overs) 151
FALL OF WKTS: 1-2, 2-45, 3-48, 4-59, 5-92, 6-116, 7-136, 8-136, 9-136.
BOWLING: Sohail Khan 3-0-18-1; Mir Hamza 3-0-20-0 (3w); Rumman Raees Khan 3-0-23-3; Anwar Ali 3-0-18-2; Danish Aziz 2.5-0-30-2; Zahid Mahmood 4-0-40-2.
RESULT: Sindh won by 45 runs.
UMPIRES: Rashid Riaz and Waleed Yaqub.
TV UMPIRE: Asif Yaqoob.
MATCH REFEREE: Mohammad Javed.
PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Sharjeel Khan (Sindh).
Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2021