LAHORE   -   Balochistan started their National T20 Cup First XI Tournament campaign with a thrilling two-run win over Sindh at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Thursday. 

According to information made available here, Sindh required 11 off the last over. Umaid Asif allowed the opposition batsmen only two singles from the first three balls before Sohail Khan smashed the lanky pacer for a six on the fourth. Sindh lost two wickets as non-strikers Hassan Khan and Mohammad Hasnain tried to sneak singles on the last two balls with Sohail (31 not out from 16 balls) failing to make a connection with the ball.

Umaid provided Balochistan an earlier breakthrough in their defence of 181-run target by dismissing Sharjeel Khan (10 off eight) on the first ball of the fourth over. All-rounder Amad Butt, struck in back-to-back overs – fifth and seventh – accounting for Saud Shakeel (13 off eight) and opener Khurram Manzoor (14 off 17). 

Amad’s and Balochistan’s next wicket was Sindh captain Sarfaraz Ahmed (20 off 21) as the right-arm fast finished with three wickets for 39 runs. Asad Shafiq was the top-scorer for Sindh with a 25-ball 32, which included four fours, as he held an end. His stay at the crease was curtailed by 19-year-old Akif Javed, who later bowled Anwar Ali (20 off 11, two sixes) as he returned two for 32 in four overs. 

Earlier, Balochistan posted 180 for eight thanks to Bismillah Khan’s eighth T20 half-century after their captain Haris Sohail chose to bat. The wicketkeeper-batsman smashed four fours and three sixes in his 42-ball 58 as he joined Imam-ul-Haq (10 off 11) in the third over with 32 runs on the board after opener Awais Zia scored a breezy nine-ball 25 – hitting four fours and a six. 

Reflecting on his performance, Bismillah Khan, who was named man-of-the-match, told pcb.com.pk: “My aim was to stay at the wicket and bat deep as we had lost wickets earlier in the innings. Spending time at the crease allowed me to score runs. “I receive a lot of support from the people of Balochistan and my hometown Quetta. They express their happiness through text messages and calls whenever I score runs.”

Bismillah and Haris (25 off 14) knitted a 67-run partnership for the fourth-wicket before the Balochistan captain was run out in the 15th over. Sindh’s Mohammad Hasnain took two wickets for 31 runs. The two teams meet again in the tournament on 11 October at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi.

SCORECARD

BALOCHISTAN:

Imam-ul-Haq run out 10

Awais Zia c Sarfaraz b Hasnain 25

Bismillah c Anwar b Sohail Khan 58

Imran Butt b Mohammad Asghar 18

Haris Sohail run out 25

Imran Farhat run out 9

Amad Butt c Saud b Anwar Ali 5

Umaid Asif b M Hasnain 3

Usama Mir not out 10

Yasir Shah not out 2

EXTRAS: (b 4, lb 3, nb 3, w 5) 15

TOTAL: (8 wkts, 20 overs) 180

BOWLING:  Asad Shafiq 1-0-15-0, Sohail Khan 4-0-24-1, Mohammad Hasnain 4-0-31-2, Anwar Ali 3-0-26-1, Mohammad Asghar 4-0-40-1, Hassan Khan 4-0-37-0. 

SINDH:

K Manzoor c Bismillah b Amad 14

Sharjeel Khan c Awais b Umaid 10

Saud Shakeel b Amad Butt 13

Sarfaraz c Haris b Amad Butt 20

Asad Shafiq c Usama b Akif Javed 32

Azam Khan c Imam b Yasir Shah 19

Anwar Ali b Akif Javed 20

Sohail Khan not out 31

Hassan Khan run out 1

Mohammad Hasnain run out 0

EXTRAS: (b 4, lb 2, nb 2, w 10) 18

TOTAL: (9 wkts, 20 overs) 178

BOWLING: Akif Javed 4-0-32-2, Umaid Asif 4-0-33-1, Amad Butt 4-0-39-3, Yasir Shah 4-0-30-1, Usama Mir 4-0-38-0. 

TOSS: Balochistan