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Pakistan Cup: Anwar Ali and Saad Ali star in Sindh’s 349-run chase against Southern Punjab

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©PCB
 
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Sindh continued their winning streak in Pakistan Cup powered by Servis Tyres – One-Day Tournament 2020-21 as they chased down a 349-run target courtesy an unbroken sixth-wicket partnership of 145 runs between captain Anwar Ali and Saad Ali against Southern Punjab at the State Bank Stadium Karachi on Sunday to further consolidate their position at the top of the table.

This was Sindh’s seventh win in nine games and they now sit pretty at the top of the six-team table with 14 points and a confirmed spot in the semi-finals.

In other games captain Rohail Nazir’s unbeaten 69 helped Northern beat Balochistan at the NBP Sports Complex, the loss ended Balochistan’s hopes of a semi-finals berth. Iftikhar Ahmed starred with an all-round performance as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa defeated Central Punjab by 69 runs at the UBL Sports Complex. The victory has ensured semi-final progress for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Southern Punjab vs Sindh – State Bank Stadium:

Sindh won the toss and opted to field first. Southern Punjab batsmen made full use of the batting friendly conditions by posting a 348 for four total in the allotted 50 overs. Captain Shan Masood led from the front as he posted the 13th List A century of his career. The left-handed scored 125 off 141 balls, hitting 13 fours and one six.

Shan added 200 runs for the second-wicket with Sohaib Maqsood who scored a scintillating 130 off only 79 balls, his second century of the tournament. The right-hander played a series of attacking shots smashing as many as 10 sixes besides hitting nine fours in his innings. Sohaib who has been in fine form in the event has now scored 433 runs in nine innings at 48.11.

Hussain Talat contributed a quickfire 46 off 35 balls to help Southern Punjab to their formidable total. Fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain took two wickets giving away a mere 38 runs in his 10-over spell amid the onslaught by the Southern Punjab batsmen.

Sindh got off to a cautious start as openers Khurram Manzoor (34) and Ahsan Ali (18) added 39 runs for the first-wicket. A 75-run partnership for the third-wicket between Asad Shafiq (62 off 61 balls, seven fours) and Saad Ali provided the platform for batsmen to follow with the experienced Asad scoring a fine half-century for his side.

Left-hander Danish Aziz continued his fine batting form as he contributed 65 off 61 balls (eight fours, one six). Captain Anwar Ali joined Saad with the score at 204; the two took the attack to the Southern Punjab bowlers in pursuit of the big target.

Both batsmen kept the asking rate in control by scoring important boundaries; they completely dominated the hapless Southern Punjab bowlers in the final stages of the match, completing the chase in 46.5 overs with 19 balls to spare.

Saad remained unbeaten on 78 off 54 balls (nine fours, one six). Anwar finished 69 not out, he faced a mere 34 balls and hit three fours and five sixes.

Anwar and Saad were jointly awarded the players-of-the-match award. Southern Punjab are still in the hunt of a semi-final spot despite the loss, they are currently placed at third position with eight points from nine matches.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Central Punjab –UBL Sports Complex:

Central Punjab won the toss and opted to field first, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa posted 328 for nine in 50 overs. Fakhar Zaman top-scored with 92 off 95 balls with the help of eight fours and three sixes.

Fakhar added 145 runs for the third-wicket with Iftikhar Ahmed who scored 76 off 71 balls with the help of four fours and five sixes.

Adil Amin made a 51-run contribution off 43 balls (two fours, three sixes). Left-arm-spinner Zafar Gohar took three wickets while Qasim Akram took two wickets.

Iftikhar (player-of-the-match) followed his batting contribution with a four-wicket haul with his off-spin bowling that ensured a 69-run win for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as Central Punjab were bowled out for 259 in 44.3 overs. Iftikhar was well supported by left-arm-spinner Asif Afridi who took three wickets for 65 runs in his 10 overs.

Young all-rounder Qasim Akram who made his maiden List A century in the previous game made another important contribution for his side scoring 67 off 76 balls (five fours, two sixes). Qasim top-scored in an otherwise unimpressive Central Punjab batting effort.

Raza Ali Dar scored 50 off 74 balls (two fours) whole opener Rizwan Hussain scored a blazing 46 off 23 balls (seven fours, two sixes) but failed to make most of his promising start as his demise derailed Central Punjab’s chase.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who now have 10 points from nine matches are through to the semi-finals while Central Punjab who have eight points from nine games would need to win the last match to stay in the last-four hunt.

Balochistan vs Northern –NBP Sports Complex:

Northern won the toss and opted to field first, Balochistan were reduced to 98 for four after pacers Waqas Ahmed and Athar Mehmood made early inroads. Balochistan were rescued by a 136-run fifth-wicket partnership between Akbar-ur-Rehman and Ayaz Tassawar. The right-handed Akbar scored 75 off 89 balls with the help of four fours.

Left-handed Ayaz took the attack to the bowlers in his unbeaten 82 off 68 balls (six fours, two sixes). Ayaz’s innings propelled Balochistan to their eventual 249 for six total. Waqas and Athar took two wickets each for Northern.

Northern were hardly troubled in their chase after openers Taimoor Sultan (24) and Haider Ali provided the team an 87-run start. Haider scored 53 off 54 balls with the help of eight fours. Northern received a minor jolt when they lost their third-wicket with 100 runs on the board.

At this stage the experience Umar Amin was joined by captain and player-of-the-match Rohail Nazir. Umar scored 47 off 59 balls while Rohail batted with composure and responsibility to take his team to the target with an unbeaten 69 off 84 balls (five fours, two sixes).

Hammad Azam provided the finishing touches with an unbeaten 30 off 16 balls (two fours, one six). Northern completed the chase in the 47th over, left-arm-spinner Mohammad Junaid took two wickets.

The win has kept Northern alive in the tournament as they now have eight points after nine games and still have an outside chance of qualifying for the semi-finals. Balochistan who endured their sixth defeat today are now out of the semi-final race.

Scores in brief:

Sindh beat Southern Punjab by five wickets at the State Bank Stadium

Southern Punjab 348-4, 50 overs (Sohaib Maqsood 130, Shan Masood 125; Mohammad Hasnain 2-38)

Sindh 349-5, 46.5 overs (Saad Ali 78 not out, Anwar Ali 69 not out, Danish Aziz 65, Asad Shafiq 62; Mohammad Abbas 2-62)

Players-of-the-Match: Saad Ali and Anwar Ali

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Central Punjab by 69 runs at the UBL Sports Complex

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 328-9, 50 overs (Fakhar Zaman 92, Iftikhar Ahmed 76, Adil Amin 51; Zafar Gohar 3-49, Qasim Akram 2-36)

Central Punjab 259 all out, 44.3 overs (Qasim Akram 67, Raza Ali Dar 50, Rizwan Hussain 46; Iftikhar Ahmed 4-47, Asif Afridi 3-65)

Player-of-the-Match: Iftikhar Ahmed

Northern beat Balochistan by six wickets at the NBP Sports Complex

Balochistan 249-6, 50 overs (Ayaz Tassawar 82 not out, Akbar-ur-Rehman 75, Imran Farhat 48; Athar Mehmood 2-54, Waqas Ahmed 2-55)

Northern 252-4, 46.4 overs (Rohail Nazir 69 not out, Haider Ali 53, Umar Amin 47; Mohammad Junaid 2-49)

Player-of-the-Match: Rohail Nazir

26 January fixtures:

Balochistan vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – State Bank Stadium; Northern vs Southern Punjab –UBL Sports Complex; Central Punjab vs Sindh –NBP Sports Complex

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