LAHORE-A record second-wicket partnership between Zeeshan Malik and Haider Ali orchestrated a 79-run win for Northern against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the opening match of the National T20 Cup First XI tournament at the Multan Cricket Stadium. 

Northern were 24 for one after three overs when 19-year-old Haider, who made his Pakistan debut in the last of the three T20Is against England earlier this month, joined Zeeshan at the crease. The two batsmen added 180 runs in 14.1 overs that lifted the defending champions to 242 for three, the second highest score in a T20 innings in the history of the National T20 Cup, after Shadab Khan elected to bat first. Haider smashed five sixes and seven fours in his blazing 90 off 48 balls. 

Reflecting on his performance, Haider said: “It is always a great feeling to start off a tournament on a high and this innings has provided me a lot of confidence. Though I am a little disappointed on missing out what would have been my maiden century in T20 cricket, I thoroughly enjoyed the partnership with Zeeshan Malik. Our decision to bat first paid dividends as it allowed us to make the most of the true bounce on offer. “My aim is to now build on this start and play a vital role in helping my side defend the title.”

Zeeshan, the 23-year-old right-handed batsman, smashed a 47-ball 77, which was studded with eight fours and three sixes, before Junaid Khan, who took two wickets for 44 runs in four overs, bowled him. Asif Ali struck three fours and a six in 10 balls during his 23 not out. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were dealt an early blow as Mohammad Nawaz, left-arm orthodox, bowled Fakhar Zaman on the fourth ball of the innings. By the first ball of the seventh over, they had lost their captain Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Hafeez, which reduced them to 46 for three. 

Problems amplified for them as Shoaib Malik fell in the 13th over after scoring a 19-ball 20, following which Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lost track of the run chase. Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Nawaz took two wickets apiece for 34 and 37 runs, while Musa Khan dismissed Mohammad Mohsin (14 off 10), Shaheen Shah Afridi (0) and Usman Khan Shinwari (0) in the last over. At the end of the 20 overs, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were 163 for nine. They have a chance to avenge this defeat on 16 October when the two sides meet again at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi. 

TON-UP ABDULLAH GUIDES CENTRAL PUNJAB TO VICTORY

Abdullah Shafiq’s unbeaten hundred guided Central Punjab to a 7-wicket victory over Southern Punjab in the second match of the National T20 Cup at Multan Stadium. 

Chasing the target of 201 runs, Central Punjab though couldn’t start well but after losing two quick wickets, they made a strong comeback and reached home safely with the help of Abdullah Shafiq’s unbeaten 102 runs while Kamran Akmal contributed with significant 75. Earlier, Southern Punjab posted 200-8 in allotted 20 overs with Shan Masood and Sohaib Maqsood scoring 51 runs each. Sohaib Ullah claimed three wickets and Usman Qadir two. 

Scorecard

 

NORTHERN:

Zeeshan Malik c Mohsin b Junaid.... 77

Ali Imran c Malik b Shaheen Afridi..... 21

Haider Ali c Mohsin b Junaid. 90

Asif Ali not out................... 23

Umar Amin not out.............. 14

EXTRAS: (lb 5, nb 6, w 6)...... 17

TOTAL: (3 wkts, 20 overs)... 242

BOWLING: Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-0-38-1, Usman Shinwari 4-0-47-0, Junaid Khan 4-0-44-2, Wahab Riaz 3-0-51-0, Mohammad Mohsin 3-0-28-0, Fakhar Zaman 2-0-29-0. 

KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA:

Fakhar Zaman b M Nawaz....... 5

Sahibzada Farhan b Sohail Tanvir... 62

Rizwan c Asif Ali b Sohail Tanvir 17

M Hafeez b Shadab Khan.................. 6

Shoaib Malik c Musa b Nawaz 20

Iftikhar c Shadab b Haris....... 28

Mohsin c Zeeshan b M Musa. 14

Wahab Riaz not out.............. 8

Shaheen Afridi b M Musa........ 0

U Shinwari c Umar Amin b Musa 0

Junaid Khan not out............. 0

EXTRAS: (lb 1, w 2)............... 3

TOTAL: (9 wkts, 20 overs)... 163

BOWLING: Mohammad Nawaz 4-0-37-2, Sohail Tanvir-4-1-34-2, Haris Rauf-4-0-32-1, Muhammad Musa-4-0-31-3, Shadab Khan-4-0-28-1. 

TOSS: NORTHERN