Southern Punjab pull off stunning chase, Central Punjab go top

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Southern Punjab chased down 212 in a remarkable evening game

Southern Punjab 217 for 6 (Agha Salman 68*, Yamin 41) beat Northern 211 for 5 (Haider 72*, Imad Wasim 40) by four wickets

Southern Punjab pulled off a sensational win, chasing down 212 with four wickets to spare against Northerns. Northerns’ 211 was the highest score of the tournament, with SP’s chase bettering it just hours later to post their first win at this year’s National T20 Cup.

SP put Northern in to bat. Haider Ali starred with a blistering 72 off 40 balls, smashing four sixes and seven fours, complemented by Mohammad Nawaz, whose 25-ball 38 saw Northern heading towards a huge total. Imad Wasim‘s 18-ball 40 propelled them further still, and at that stage, SP opening their account seemed a distant prospect.

SP needed to start aggressively, and they did, the asking rate never allowed to get out of hand. Wickets might have kept falling in intervals but no batter got bogged down and the scoring rate kept ticking over. Sohaib Maqsood (23 off 14), Zeeshan Ashraf (15 off 9), and Azam Khan (23 off 9) played useful cameos to keep the game alive, allowing Agha Salman at the other end to thread through the innings.

Scoring 68 off 40 balls, he anchored the middle order while Aamer Yamin (41 off 21) helped them get the asking rate down. By the final over, SP needed just eight after Yamin smashed Sohai Tanvir for consecutive sixes to ensure his quota went for 55. They won with a ball to spare, and while they are already eliminated, SP served up perhaps the game of the season.

Central Punjab 131 for 2 (Talat 68*, Malik 40*) beat Sindh 128 for 7 (Sarfaraz 54*, Faheem 2-19) by eight wickets

A superb show from Central Punjab’s bowlers, along with contributions with the bat from Hussain Talat and Shoaib Malik, helped them beat Sindh by eight wickets with 26 balls to spare in the opening game of the second leg of the National T20 Cup at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. A meagre target of 129 was easily chased down with ease thanks to Talat (68 off 52) and Malik (40 off 25). The result put Central Punjab on top of the table.

Asked to field first, Sindh were off to a wobbly start losing both openers cheaply. Sarfaraz Ahmed played the anchor at No. 4 and helped lift the innings with an unbeaten 54 off 37 balls. He partnered with Ahsan Ali, Danish Aziz and Anwar Ali to take Sindh to 128 for 7. Faheem Ashraf (2-19) and Hasan Ali (2-31) and Wahab Riaz (1-28) bowled economic spells.

Central Punjab got off to a cautious start in the chase after they lost Kamran Akmal early. But Talat at No. 3 made sure things easy were for the side, scoring his 13th T20 half-century. He put up a match-winning unbeaten 98-run partnership with Malik – was dropped by Mir Hamza at long-on when he was on 11 – and finished the chase in 15.4 overs.

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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