RAWALPINDI: Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa won their respective matches of the Kingdom Valley National T20 Cup here at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
In the first match, Sindh registered their second consecutive win of the event when they defeated Northern by 10 runs, thanks to opener Saim Ayub’s brilliant 52-ball 92.
Left-handed Saim smashed seven sixes and six fours to help Sindh set a demanding 191-run target for Northern. He added 39 and an innings-defining 85 with Omair Bin Yousuf (18 off 15) and Saud Shakeel (20 off 18) respectively after his opening partner Sharjeel Khan (eight) was cleaned up in the first over.
Experienced all-rounder Sohail Tanvir was Northern’s pick of the bowlers with three for 28.
Left-arm pacer Mir Hamza provided Sindh a solid start by removing Northern openers Hasan Nawaz and Ali Imran in back-to-back overs. As Nasir Nawaz (39 off 21) and Zeeshan Malik (29 off 31) were on course to stage a recovery, leg-spinner Zahid Mehmood cleaned up the former.
All-rounder Mubasir Khan and Sohail gave Northern fans some hope as they added 45 runs at a run-rate of 11 but fell in the 18th and 19th overs. Mubasir scored 33 off 25 (four fours, one six) and Sohail made 21 off 14 (two sixes) before he became Hamza’s third victim. Hamza returned three for 33 and Sohail took 2-38.
Saim earned the man-of-the-match award for his fabulous knock.
Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa began their title defence with an 18-run win over Central Punjab. This was Central Punjab’s second defeat in as many days.
Tayyab Tahir’s second consecutive fifty for Central Punjab went in vain.
Right-handed Tayyab scored a breezy 72 off 45 (five fours, three sixes) in his side’s unsuccessful pursuit of 166. It was the 57-run stand for the third wicket with Qasim Akram that gave Central Punjab a chance but it ended in the 12th over.
After Qasim’s departure who was bowled by fast bowler Arshad Iqbal, Tayyab never got a reliable partner as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals.
Fast bowler Imran Khan Senior, named man-of-the-match, claimed four wickets for 27, Mohammad Imran picked up two for 19 and Asif Afridi took two for 24.
With their number eleven player Faheem Ashraf absent hurt, Central Punjab ended at 147-9 with five balls to spare.
Earlier after captain Khalid Usman elected to bat first, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa totalled made 165 for six off the stipulated overs with Kamran Ghulam top-scoring with a 32-ball 39.
It was, overall, a consolidated batting performance with Adil Amin scoring 24 off 17, Mohammad Sarwar Afridi making a 21-ball 30 not out and Khalid smashing 22 off 10.
SINDH 190-7 in 20 overs (Saim Ayub 92, Saad Khan 26 not out, Saud Shakeel 20; Sohail Tanvir 3-28); NORTHERN 180-7 in 20 overs (Nasir Nawaz 39, Mubasir Khan 33, Zeeshan Malik 29; Mir Hamza 3-33, Sohail Khan 2-38).
KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 165-6 in 20 overs (Kamran Ghulam 39, Mohammad Sarwar Afridi 30 not out, Adil Amin 24, Khalid Usman 22; Ali Asfand 2-22); CENTRAL PUNJAB 147-9 in 19.1 overs (Tayyab Tahir 72, Ahmed Shehzad 26; Imran Khan Sr 4-27, Mohammad Imran 2-19, Asif Afridi 2-24).
Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2022