All-round Nawaz keeps Southern Punjab winless; Sarfaraz, Zahid sparkle for Sindh


Balochistan remain in fifth place, after their third loss in four games

Northern 177 for 5 (Nawaz 56*, Haider 40, Hassan 2-13) beat Southern Punjab 175 for 6 (Sohaib 75, Musa 3-40) by five wickets

Captain Sohaib Maqsood did his bit with a 47-ball 75 and left-arm spinner Hassan Khan returned 2 for 13 from three overs, but the contributions weren’t enough for Southern Punjab to turn their fortunes around, as they lost by five wickets to Northern to record their fourth defeat in as many games in the tournament. For the winners, fast bowler Muhammad Musa was the brightest spot with the ball, returning 3 for 40, while Mohammad Nawaz starred with the bat with a 35-ball 56 not out to go with 1 for 9 from two overs with the ball.

Asked to bat first, Southern Punjab did well, with opener Sohaib stitching together useful partnerships for the second and third wickets with Agha Salman (24) and Khushdil Shah (20) respectively to take the total to 125 before he was dismissed in the 15th over. The captain’s innings included eight fours and four sixes.

After Sohaib and Khushdil fell in quick succession, Azam Khan’s 12-ball 18 and Aamer Yamin’s impressive nine-ball 23 seemed to have done enough to put Southern Punjab in a position from where they could get on the points table.

It was, however, not to be, even though they put up a fight.

Nasir Nawaz took control of the chase early, scoring the bulk of the runs in a 26-run opening stand with Rohail Nazir, who had been moved to the top of the order after Umer Amin suffered an injury. But Nazir was run out for 2, and though Nasir was dismissed not long after for a 15-ball 24, Haider Ali (40 in 27) ensured Northern got to three figures in the 12th over.

The big hand, though, came from Nawaz, who hit six fours and two sixes from No. 5 to drag Northern past the line. And captain Shadab Khan, who had moved himself down to No. 6, chipped in with a valuable 20-ball 30 during a 67-run stand for the fifth wicket. The target was breached with five balls in hand, helping Northern get to second spot on the table with their second win in three games.

Sindh 175 for 4 (Sarfaraz 41*, Sharjeel 34, Khurram 1-25) beat Balochistan 98 (Bangalzai 29, Dahani 4-12, Zahid 3-18, Danish 2-23) by 77 runs

Sindh made it three-in-three in Pakistan’s National T20 Cup with an enormous victory over Balochistan in their latest fixture, topping their opponents by 77 runs after bowling them out for just 98. While the batting was led by captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shahnawaz Dahani, Danish Aziz and Zahid Mahmood, the Player of the Match, shared nine wickets between them in a spectacular display to finish off the Balochistan resistance in just 16.4 overs.

Batting first after winning the toss, Sindh got off to a good start courtesy Shan Masood (31) and Sharjeel Khan (34), the two putting on 52 in 6.2 overs before Sharjeel, the aggressor, fell. Khurram Manzoor couldn’t quite get going, but after Masood fell in the 11th over, Saud Shakeel (32) and Sarfaraz (41*) took control of the game, scored quickly, and set the stage for Anwar Ali to come in at the close and wallop an unbeaten 12-ball 22.

That gave Sindh a score Sarfaraz would have expected his bowling line-up to defend without much fuss, and that’s exactly what happened.

Imam-ul-Haq, the big name in the line-up, scored his 19 runs in 18 balls, and Abdul Bangalzai hit 29 in 23, neither quite able to wrest the initiative. The 46-run first-wicket stand was the best period with the bat for Balochistan, as the wickets tumbled after the openers were sent back by the end of the eighth over. Abdullah Shafique, who has moved from Central Punjab to Balochistan, made his much-anticipated debut on the day but only managed a 12-ball 8.

Legspinner Zahid was the pick of the bowlers, with 3 for 18, while left-arm spinner Danish and medium-pacer Dahani struck key blows to never allow the batters to get on top.

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