National T20 Cup: Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan bowl Northern to victory
Inspired bowling spells by fast bowler Haris Rauf and captain and leg-spinner Shadab Khan guided defending champions Northern to eventually a comfortable 27-run win against Southern Punjab in the fourth match of the National T20 Cup First XI tournament at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Thursday night.
Northern 203-5, 20 overs (Ali Imran 50, Mohammad Nawaz 31 not out, Asif Ali 29 not out; Zahid Mehmood 3-34, Mohammad Irfan 2-35)
Southern Punjab 176-9, 20 overs (Zeeshan Ashraf 73, Umar Siddiq 33; Haris Rauf 4-24, Shadab Khan 3-30)
Result - Northern won by 27 runs
Southern Punjab who were set a 204-run target lost their way despite a formidable position of 129 for two at the start of the 13th over. Shadab led from the front by dismissing Sohaib Maqsood (18 off 12 balls) and Zeeshan Ashraf (73 off 38 balls, eight fours and four sixes) in the same over to bring his side back in the hunt.
Northern never allowed Southern Punjab to claw back in the game as the fiery Haris dismissed danger man Khushdil Shah (8) and Aamer Yamin (1) in the 16th over of the innings to leave Southern Punjab reeling at 149 for seven.
Haris who had dismissed Shan Masood for a duck in the opening over of the Southern Punjab innings got rid of Bilawal Bhatti (10) in his final over to return hugely impressive figures of four for 24 in four overs.
Shadab who was later named man-of-the-match for his all-round contribution (28 runs and three wickets) stifled the Southern Punjab batsmen in his four-over spell that earned him figures of three for 30.
For Southern Punjab left-handed opener Zeeshan played some scintillating shots in his impressive half-century but his dismissal dismantled the chase. Northern are now at the top of the six-team table with two wins from as many games.
Reflecting on his and his team performance, Shadab Khan said: “I am very pleased since we played really well. We want to play fearless cricket like it is needed at the international level and that is what I and the management tell the team. We were under pressure when we got crucial wickets and that’s how we came back in the game. Haris Rauf and Musa Khan bowled really well on a batting pitch. We aim to sustain our momentum and take it till the very end of the tournament.”
Earlier, batting first after winning the toss, Northern amassed an imposing 203-run total for the loss of five wickets on the back of a 50 off 39 balls by opener Ali Imran and solid contributions from most of the frontline batsmen.
Ali hit three sixes and as many fours in his innings before his dismissal to leg-spinner Zahid Mehmood who took three wickets for 35 runs in his four over quota.
Haider Ali continued his fine form scoring a brisk 28 off 15 balls (three fours, two sixes). Shadab scored 28 off 14 balls, he hit three sixes in his innings.
An unbroken 56-run partnership between Asif Ali 29 off 21 balls (four fours) and Mohammad Nawaz 31 off 15 balls (two fours, two sixes) helped Northern get past the 200-run mark.
Mohammad Irfan took two wickets for 35 runs for Southern Punjab.
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