KP dent Central Punjab’s hopes with fourth straight win

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KARACHI: The penultimate First XI fixture of the National T20 Cup’s Multan leg saw Khyber Pakhtun­khwa extend their winning streak to four after condemning Central Punjab to a 29-run defeat on Tuesday.

Defending a competitive total of 178 was no problem for Mohammad Rizwan’s men as Central Punjab were dismissed for 149 after Kamran Akmal and Abdullah Shafiq had steered them to 99-1 in the 12th over. But the departure of Kamran for a 37-ball 47 (four fours and one six) to a smart catch by Rizwan when Shoaib Malik fired one down the leg side derailed Central Punjab’s aspirations.

Abdullah — one of the finds of this tournament — was trapped by paceman Arshad Iqbal for 43 (off 37 balls, four fours and one six) shortly after. His dismissal signalled a procession of wickets as Central Punjab lost the last seven in a cluster.

Earlier, Fakhar Zaman hoisted five sixes and hit three fours in making a carefree 66 off 42 balls. The Pakistan left-hander was later adjudged man-of-the-match.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa moved to second in the standings with eight points.

Former Pakistan stalwart Umar Gul, meanwhile, turned back the clocks on Monday night when the veteran seamer played a pivotal role in inspiring Balochistan to a nail-biting three-run victory against Central Punjab.

The 36-year-old struck when it mattered to peg back Central Punjab from reaching the manageable target of 169 before finishing with excellent figures of 4-37 in four overs — an effort which earned Umar man-of-the-match award ahead of team-mate Imam-ul-Haq.

Imam was the cornerstone of Balochistan’s innings after skipper Haris Sohail decided runs on the board would put the opponents under pressure despite the dew factor. The left-handed Pakistan opener batted through the 20 overs to score 80 from 55 deliveries, while striking eight boundaries and one six.

Fellow left-handers Awais Zia (36 off 28 balls, four fours and one six) and Haris (23 off 15, one six and one four) also made handy contributions.

Pakistan discard Ehsan Adil captured three wickets for 40 runs and slow left-armer Zafar took 2-34.

Zafar later made a last-ditch attempt to revive Central Punjab’s hopes as the left-hander hammered a 15-ball 32 (three fours and one six) but his heroics proved futile as Balochistan celebrated their third victory before their clash against the defending champions on Tuesday night.

Yasir Shah also made his presence felt in a big way as the Test leg-spinner snared three wickets for 23 runs in the middle overs.

Summarised scores:

First XI:

Played on Tuesday:

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Central Punjab by 29 runs.

KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 178-7 in 20 overs (Fakhar Zaman 66, Shoaib Malik 27 not out, Mohammad Rizwan 23, Asif Afridi 20; Ahmed Bashir 3-32); CENTRAL PUNJAB 149 in 19.2 overs (Kamran Akmal 47, Abdullah Shafiq 43; Arshad Iqbal 2-20, Asif Afridi 2-27, Junaid Khan 2-27, Wahab Riaz 2-34)

Played on Monday night:

Balochistan beat Central Punjab by three runs.

BALOCHISTAN 168-8 in 20 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 80 not out, Awais Zia 36, Haris Sohail 23; Ehsan Adil 3-40, Zafar Gohar 2-34); CENTRAL PUNJAB 165-7 in 20 overs (Abdullah Shafiq 54, Kamran Akmal 25, Rizwan Hussain 22; Umar Gul 4-37, Yasir Shah 3-23)

Second XI summary on Tuesday:

At Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore:

Southern Punjab beat Sindh by eight wickets.

SINDH 109 in 19.5 overs (Jaahid Ali 30, Fawad Alam 21; Zia-ul-Haq 4-18, Mohammad Irfan 2-19, Dilbar Hussain 2-27); SOUTHERN PUNJAB 110-2 in 16.1 overs (Zain Abbas 55 not out, Mukhtar Ahmed 44)

Balochistan beat Northern by 19 runs.

BALOCHISTAN 152-5 in 20 overs (Abdul Wahid Bangalzai 90, Ayaz Tasawwar 27; Aamir Jamal 2-17, Salman Irshad 2-27); NORTHERN 133-6 in 20 overs (Nihal Mansoor 51, Shoaib Ahmed Minhas 25; Jalat Khan 2-17, Taj Wali 2-21)

Wednesday’s fixtures:

Second XI: Northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (9:30am); Southern Punjab vs Balochistan (1:30pm).

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