Wahab Riaz cameo knocks out Balochistan; eliminated Southern Punjab end campaign with 11-run win


Central Punjab go top of the table with thrilling three-wicket win

Southern Punjab 193 for 5 (Tahir 78, Imran 2-35) beat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 182 for 6 (Gul 54, Ghulam 46, Ilyas 2-37) by 11 runs

Eliminated Southern Punjab (SP) closed out their campaign with a win over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) thanks to a 48-ball 78 from Tayyab Tahir, and several high-impact cameos lower down the order.

After being put in to bat, Tahir got SP off to a brisk start at his end, but with Sharoon Siraj and Agha Salman struggling to get going, KP kept the innings in check through to the midway period. But then a combined 49 off 26 balls from Azam Khan and Aamer Yamin helped lift SP, racking up 98 in the last 51 balls. Niaz Khan and Maaz Khan came in for particular punishment, going for a combined 74 in seven overs.

KP got off to a wretched start in the chase, losing three quick wickets and managing just 29 in the powerplay. It left them with nearly two runs a ball to fetch from the last 14 overs, and they might have crumbled completely if it wasn’t for a 79-run stand between Kamran Ghulam and Nabi Gul, who scored 46 and 54 respectively.

Needing 63 off the last five, the required rate was just about manageable, with Iftikhar Ahmed giving it a good go towards the end by whacking an unbeaten 33 in 21. But with the crucial wicket of Gul at the hands of Mohammad Ilyas, SP were a bit too far ahead in the game and saw off KP with 11 runs to spare.

Central Punjab 163 for 7 (Akhlaq 32, Faheem 27, Wahab 28*, Sohail 2-21) beat Balochistan 162 for 7 (Shafique 60, Butt 43*, Gul 3-20, Faizan 2-30) by 3 wickets

A late cameo from Wahab Riaz broke Balochistan hearts to eliminate them from the tournament, with Central Punjab going top of the table after a thrilling three-wicket win.

Wahab’s side, who opted to field first, looked to have the game effectively wrapped up in the first ten overs, with Sameen Gul and Mohammad Faizan ripping through the Balochistan top order. Five of the top six failed to reach double figures but opener Abdullah Shafique hung on, his key sixth wicket partnership with Amad Butt, who smacked an unbeaten 43 off 27 balls, ensuring Balochistan would have at least something to defend. Shafique top scored with 60, while Umaid Asif added late fireworks with a five-ball 15. General sloppiness hampered Central Punjab’s cause, 11 wides allowing Balochistan to finish with 162.

Balochistan kept chipping away at Central Punjab, picking up regular wickets and ensuring they remained behind the asking rate slightly. Muhammad Akhlaq, Hussain Talat and Faheem Ashraf all contributed cameos, but with each of them falling just as Central Punjab established control, there were worries they’d run out of batsmen. But with Central Punjab needed 29 off 18, a spectacular 18th over which saw Butt belted for four sixes – three at Wahab’s hands – broke Balochistan spirits and hearts. Central Punjab cruised to victory with 11 deliveries to spare, and, alongside Southern Punjab, Balochistan, too saw their campaign come to an end.

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