Rohail Nazir and Aamer Jamal seal last-over victory for Northern over Central Punjab


Ahmed Shehzad’s 77 off 45 balls went in vain as his side fell short in the end

Northern 195 for 5 (Imran 55, Haider 37, Qasim 2-15) beat Central Punjab194 for 5 (Shehzad 77, Akhlaq 61, Jamal 3-38) by five wickets

Northern stunned Central Punjab with a sensational chase of 195, sealing a five-wicket victory, which seemed an unlikely prospect for much of the innings, with three balls to spare.

Central Punjab were put in to bat, and the small crowd was treated to a feast of good hitting by Ahmed Shehzad, who rolled back the years to get his side off to a flying start. Muhammad Akhlaq at the other end kept Shehzad stellar company, and inside 12 overs, the openers had taken CP to 124.

However, once Aamer Jamal cleaned up Shehzad, the batters that followed struggled to keep up the scoring rate, and Northern gradually began to get a grip on the match. Jamal removed Faheem Ashraf and Shoaib Malik early too, and an innings that at one stage looked like comfortably clearing 200 ended at 194.

A 92-run second-wicket partnership between Ali Imran and Haider Ali – freshly called up for the T20 World Cup – saw Northern keep the asking rate hovering around ten runs an over, but three wickets for 23 runs saw them fall behind in the game.

It looked as if CP were slowly assuming control of the game, but a stunning onslaught from Rohail Nazir and Jamal kept the game alive. In the end, the pair added 50 in 25 balls, and once Wahab Riaz was taken for 20 in the penultimate over, a couple of boundaries at the expense of Faheem in the final over sealed the win for Northern.

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