RAWALPINDI-Phenomenal Umar Akmal and Awais Zia helped Balochistan rout star-studded Punjab by 6 wickets in the Pakistan Cup 2019 inaugural match played here at historic Pindi Stadium on late Tuesday night.

Balochistan were in deep trouble while chasing a decent target, as they lost three wickets for only 66 on the board. Zeeshan Ashraf, Asad Shafiq and Bismillah Khan were the players who were sent packing earlier. But left-hander aggressive opener Awais Zia and top middle order batsman Umar Akmal batted with authority and scored match-winning 120 for fourth-wicket partnership. Awais was hitting the bowlers at will while Umar was in sublime form with the willow as both played lovely strokes to all corners of the park.

After scoring polished 75 with the help of 7 boundaries and one six, Awais Zia finally got out. Umar Akmal then not only kept one end intact but also played freely as he batted with authority and made the highest score of his career, unbeaten 136 off 108 balls, with the help of 14 boundaries and 5 sixes. His knock helped Balochsitan achieve the target in 46 overs. Fawad Alam also played well and contributed with unbeaten 37.

Captain Asad Shafiq simply forgot to utilize the services of highly explosive batsman Ali Imran, who could have scored quick runs and guided the team to victory. He is also a great bowler and removed dangerous Khurram Manzoor, who was in a mood to score big. His all-round performance can help any side register crucial victories. So Asad Shafiq should have given him chance to bat and do wonders for his team.

Ali Imran had just returned after representing Karachi Kings in PSL-4, but there too, he was highly unfortunate not to be given even a single outing. Ali’s record is no secret, as he is well-known striker and has performed exceptionally in Quaid Trophy, National One-Day Cup, Emerging Asia Cup against England Lions. He needs chances to perform and excel as he can prove an asset for national team.

Umar Akmal was rightly given man-of-the-match award for his outstanding knock, while he was also outstanding in the field too, where he held a superb catch. Umar must consider himself fortunate not to get run out, when he was batting at 99, as M Sami missed a simple run-out chance on his own bowling.

Earlier, Punjab skipper Kamran Akmal won the toss and opted to bat first. The decision failed to bring desired results, as Sami Aslam was removed without disturbing the scorers on the third delivery of Muhammad Irfan. Kamran was then given a new life when he was dropped by butter-finger Bismillah Khan but he failed to capitalise from the charm life and soon was back to the pavilion.

Khurram Manzoor was looking dangerous, but he too lost his wicket after hitting a six. Ali Imran took his wicket, as Asad Shafiq took a neat catch. Iftikhar Ahmed was removed at 54. Saad Ali, who was involved in 87-run sixth-wicket partnership with Sohail Tanvir, batted superbly and took Punjab total to a respectable figure. Saad slammed 73 off 86 balls smashing 6 boundaries, while Sohail struck 59-ball 68 studded with two fours and five sixes, as Punjab were all out for 294 in 49.4 overs. Haris Rauf took 2-48 and Umar Khan 2-54.

 

 

Scorecard

 

PUNJAB:

Khurram Manzoor c Shafiq b Ali Imran                36

Sami Aslam b Mohammad Irfan..... 0

Kamran Akmal c Ali Imran b Haris Rauf               15

Iftikhar Ahmed c Umar b Umer Khan   54

Saad Ali run out............................ 73

Hussain Talat c M Irfan b Asad Shafiq                0

Sohail Tanvir c Ali Imran b Amad Butt 68

Kashif Bhatti lbw b Haris Rauf...... 14

M Sami c Fawad Alam b Umer Khan... 8

Ehsan Adil run out.......................... 4

Mohammad Asghar not out........... 0

EXTRAS: (b 5, lb 3, w 14).............. 22

TOTAL: (all out, 49.4 overs)....... 294

FOW: 1-1, 2-31, 3-74, 4-137, 5-139, 6-226, 7-243, 8-278, 9-287, 10-294.

BOWLING: Mohammad Irfan 10-0-62-1, Haris Rauf 10-1-48-2, Amad Butt 10-0-73-1, Ali Imran 5-0-27-1, Umer Khan 9.4-0-54-2, Asad Shafiq 5-0-22-1.

BALOCHISTAN:

Awais Zia c Hussain Talat b M Asghar                75

Zeeshan Ashraf c Iftikhar b Sohail Tanvir          9

Asad Shafiq lbw b Ehsan Adil..... 13

Bismillah Khan lbw b Iftikhar Ahmed   11

Umar Akmal not out.................... 136

Fawad Alam not out...................... 37

EXTRAS: (lb 10, w 5)..................... 15

TOTAL: (4 wkts, 46 overs)......... 296

FOW: 1-22, 2-43, 3-66, 4-186.

BOWLING: Sohail Tanvir 8-0-57-1, Ehsan Adil 9-0-56-1, Iftikhar Ahmed 10-0-39-1, Mohammad Sami 8-0-73-0, Mohammad Asghar 10-1-57-1, Hussain Talat 1-0-4-0.

TOSS: Punjab

UMPIRES: Qaiser Waheed, Ghaffar Kazmi

TV UMPIRES: Faisal Afridi

RESERVE UMPIRE: Imtiaz Iqbal

MATCH REFEREE: Iftikhar Ahmed