Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Northern claimed victories in their National T20 Cup fixtures as the group stage of the competition at Faisalabad’s Iqbal Stadium came to a close on Tuesday.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa picked up a convincing seven-wicket victory over Central Punjab in the first game of the day.
The game turned out to be a run fest as the both sides managed to score past 150 without losing half of their batting lineup.
Central Punjab, being sent to bat first, were 56-2 inside nine overs. However, skipper Babar Azam Umar Akmal combined for a super 111-run partnership. Their half-centuries helped the side finish at a daunting total of 177-3.
Babar played a captain’s knock of 83 off 56 deliveries. Umar, on the other hand, hit 53 off just 37 deliveries as he smashed two fours and four sixes.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also stuttered at the start as they found themselves reeling at 48-2 but Fakhar Zaman and Iftikhar Ahmed took the side past 100.
After the partnership was broken, Fakhar Zaman and Khushdil Shah’s 72-run stand got the side over the line. The opening batsman top-scored with 82 off 54 deliveries while Iftikhar played a handy knock of 26-ball 46.
In the second game of the day, Northern claimed an easy seven-wicket victory over Balochistan.
Northern’s decision to field first paid its dividends as their bowlers, especially Shadab Khan who returned with figures of 4-26, ran riot on the Balochistan batsmen and left them reeling at 97-7. However, Hussain Talat stood firm with his unbeaten half-century.
The lower-order batsman provided solid resistance as he remained unbeaten at 77 off 51 deliveries with the help of nine boundaries and two sixes. His 44-run partnership with Umar Gul helped the side reach a defendable 155-8 total.
Balochistan reduced Northern to 18-2 early on. However, their hopes of staying alive in the competition were short-lived as Rohail Nazir and Ali Imran put together 105.
Imran top-scored with 37-ball 65 with eight boundaries and two sixes before getting run out. Rohail’s 56 off 46 deliveries took the side home in the 17th over.
The tournament now moves into the semi-final stage, where Northern take on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while Balochistan play Southern Punjab on Wednesday.