Central Punjab reach Pakistan Cup semis after Usama’s all-round show
Central Punjab became the first side to qualify for the Pakistan Cup one-day tournament semifinals, while it was a four-way battle for the remaining three spots after the completion of the ninth and penultimate round of matches.
Central Punjab defeated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by 113 runs at the National Bank of Pakistan Sports Complex to notch up their sixth victory, while the defeat left Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on five wins.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s last league match on Thursday will be against defending champions Balochistan, who defeated Northern by 110 runs at the UBL Sports Complex. This lifted Balochistan to five wins, while the loss left Northern on eight points with four wins.
Northern’s final league match will be against Southern Punjab, who defeated Sindh by four wickets at the State Bank Stadium. Sindh, still on four wins, will take on leaders Central Punjab on Thursday and only a victory will keep them in contention for a place in the semifinal.
Central Punjab’s convincing 113 runs victory was built around Usama Mir’s all-round performance.
After Ahmed Shehzad (71, 91b, 9x4) and Qasim Akram (58, 62b, 5x4, 1x6) helped Central Punjab to score 315 for eight, Usama Mir registered figures of 9-1-45-5 to bowl Khyber Pakhtunkhwa out for 202 in 39.1 overs that revolved around Iftikhar Ahmed’s 66 and Fakhar Zaman’s 52. Usama had earlier scored 29 from 15 balls with a four and three sixes.
Balochistan sent Northern on a leather chase when they scored 387 for seven and then dismissed Northern for 277.
Haris Sohail slapped six fours and four sixes in a 61-ball 92, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai scored a 70-ball 88 with six fours and five sixes, Imran Butt struck 11 fours in almost run-a-ball 83 and Haseebullah scored 59 from 55 balls with 11 fours to put Balochistan in a position where they could dictate terms.
Northern failed to maintain the required run-rate of 7.76 and eventually collapsed to 277 all-out in 47.3 overs despite half-centuries by Umair Masood (51) and Umar Akmal (51). Kashif Bhatti was the pick of Balochistan bowlers with four for 48, while Amad Butt and Mohammad Junaid took two wickets apiece.
Southern Punjab faced little challenge in disposing off Sindh by four wickets.
Batting first, Sindh were dismissed for 171 in 47.2 overs with Mohammad Suleman (62) and Danish Aziz (36) being the notable scorers. Mohammad Ilyas, Mohammad Islam, Faisal Akram and Sharoon Siraj took two wickets each. Opener Mohammad Shehzad led Southern Punjab’s run-chase when he belted five fours and four sixes in a 96-ball 85 as his side reached the victory target with 14.5 overs and four wickets to spare.
Southern Punjab beat Sindh by four wickets at State Bank Stadium
Sindh 171 all-out, 47.2 overs (Mohammad Suleman 62, Danish Aziz 36, Faraz Ali 24; Mohammad Ilyas 2-18, Mohammad Ismail 2-20, Faisal Akram 2-28, Sharoon Siraj 2-40)
Southern Punjab 172-6, 35.1 overs (Mohammad Shehzad 85, Usman Salahuddin 34; Shahnawaz Dahani 3-66, Mohammad Hasnain 2-36)
Balochistan beat Northern by 110 runs at UBL Sports Complex
Balochistan 387-7, 50 overs (Haris Sohail 92, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai 88, Imran Butt 83, Haseebullah 59, Amad Butt 37; Musa Khan 3-83, Mubasir Khan 2-55)
Northern 277 all-out, 47.3 overs (Umair Masood 51, Umar Akmal 51, Musa Khan 27; Kashif Bhatti 4-48, Amad Butt 2-42, Mohammad Junaid 2-51)
Central Punjab beat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by 113 runs at NBP Sports Complex
Central Punjab 315-8, 50 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 71, Qasim Akram 58, Saif Babar 40, Junaid Ali 37, Usama Mir 29; Mohammad Amir Khan 2-51, Ihsanullah 2-61)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 202 all-out, 39.1 overs (Iftikhar Ahmed 66, Fakhar Zaman 52, Mohammad Haris 26; Usama Mir 5-42, Qasim Akram 2-38)