LAHORE: In what was a disastrous National T20 Cup campaign for them, Southern Punjab signed off in style on Sunday.
Last year’s runners-up humbled holders Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by 11 runs at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium.
With the semi-final lineup almost decided, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa afforded a fourth loss on Sunday. At the time of filing this report, Balochistan were in dire straits in Sunday’s night game against Central Punjab and almost doomed to join Southern Punjab in being eliminated out of the competition.
In what was eventually just their third triumph in 10 games during the current edition, Southern Punjab owed a huge debt to Tayyab Tahir. The opener’s blistering 48-ball innings of 78 was the cornerstone of his side’s final tally of 193-5.
Tayyab’s career-best effort in only his sixth T20 appearance was his third 50-plus score and second of this tournament. The 28-year-old right-hander struck eight fours and three sixes before a pull against ex-Test pacer Imran Khan was well caught in the deep by Nabi Gul with the total on 147 in the 16th over.
Azam Khan, who had been making headlines in recent weeks, missed a golden chance to make amends after being ditched from the Pakistan T20 World Cup with yet another brief stay at the crease. But the portly wicket-keeper/batter still managed to thrash three sixes and a four during a 13-ball cameo of 25.
Iftikhar Ahmed tinkered with the batting order by promoting a trio of greenhorns above himself. But barring Kamran Ghulam (46 off 33, four fours and two sixes) and Nabi Gul (54 off 31, five fours and three sixes) the ploy didn’t worked as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ended up reaching 182-6.
Tayyab Tahir c Nabi b Imran78
Sharoon Siraj c Aamir b Niaz18
Salman Ali Agha c Haris b Niaz16
Azam Khan c Maaz b Arshad25
Aamir Yamin c Iftikhar b Imran24
Moinuddin not out8
Yousuf Babar not out14
EXTRAS (LB-2, W-8)10
TOTAL (for five wkts, 20 overs)193
FALL OF WKTS: 1-39, 2-95, 3-130, 4-147, 5-175.
DID NOT BAT: Zia-ul-Haq, Mohammad Ilyas, Ali Majid, Umar Khan.
BOWLING: Imran Khan 4-0-35-2; Arshad Iqbal 4-0-36-1 (1w); Asif Afridi 4-0-36-0; Niaz Khan 4-0-42-2 (2w); Maaz Khan 3-0-32-0 (1w); Kamran Ghulam 1-0-10-0.
Mohammad Haris lbw b Ali6
Aamir Azmat c Salman b Ilyas6
Kamran Ghulam b Aamir46
Sahibzada Farhan c Ilyas b Salman3
Nabi Gul c Azam b Ilyas54
Iftikhar Ahmed not out33
Asif Afridi run out2
Niaz Khan not out11
EXTRAS (LB-1, W-17, NB-3)21
TOTAL (for six wkts, 20 overs)182
FALL OF WKTS: 1-13, 2-26, 3-32, 4-111, 5-130, 6-153.
DID NOT BAT: Imran Khan, Arshad Iqbal, Maaz Khan.
BOWLING: Aamir Yamin 4-0-40-1 (1nb); Ali Majid 4-0-22-1 (2w); Zia-ul-Haq 4-0-38-0 (1w); Mohammad Ilyas 4-0-37-2 (2nb, 2w); Salman Ali Agha 2-0-20-1; Umar Khan 2-0-24-0 (1w).
RESULT: Southern Punjab won by 11 runs.
UMPIRES: Asif Yaqoob and Zameer Haider.
TV UMPIRE: Shozab Raza.
MATCH REFEREE: Ali Naqvi.
PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Tayyab Tahir (Southern Punjab).
MONDAY’S FIXTURES: Sindh vs Balochistan (3:00pm PST); Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Northern (7:30pm PST).
Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2021