RAWALPINDI    -    All-rounder Ali Imran guided Balochistan to 23-run triumph over Federal Areas to top the Pakistan Cup 2019 standings here at Pindi Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

Young sensation, Ali Imran, fully justified his promotion in batting order, as the flamboyant hard-hitting right-handed batsman not only batted with authority and hammered 77 runs but also got one wicket in 4 overs conceding just 23 runs including a precious wicket of Ahmed Shehzad and also held two catches in the field, which were more than enough to land him the maiden man-of-the-match title.

Put into bat first, Balochistan lost both openers at the total of just 15. Zeeshan Ashraf was first removed by Sadaf Hussain for just 2 and in the very next over, Awais Zia was also sent packing by Khurram Shehzad at 13. Ali Imran was finally promoted at the top, where he played one of the best innings of his career. Both Ali and Asad Shafiq contributed significant 151 runs for third-wicket stand, before Asad was run out after scoring 72.

After scoring 8 more runs in the total, Ali Imran lost his composure and was caught by Ahmed Shehzad off the bowling of Bilal Asif. Ali scored 85-ball 77 studded with 5 fours and 4 sixes. Fawad Alam consumed 28 deliveries for his 19, but in-form Umar Akmal then batted with a lot of authority and helped Balcohistan post 289 on the board in 49 overs.

Umar Akmal consumed just 45 balls to strike 77 with the help of 6 fours and 4 sixes. Sadaf Hussian, who remained unlucky to be ignored by PCB despite topping the domestic charts for last several years, grabbed 4-46, while Khurram Shehzad captured 2-42 and Bilal Asif and Asad Afridi got one wicket apiece.

Federal Areas started their run-chase in a positive manner, as both openers Ahmed Shehzad and Israrullah put on 76 for the first wicket. Shehzad was batting superbly, until Ali Imran was brought in to attack and he succeeded in removing high-flying Shehzad at 44, which he gathered by hitting 7 fours. Israrullah was next to go at the total of 86.

Saud Shakeel and skipper M Rizwan were involved in 87-run third-wicket partnership. Saud was then removed after scoring 40 while Sohaib Maqsood was next to go at 189. Rizwan gifted his wicket to Umar Khan while trying to hit a shot out-of-the-park. Nihal Mansoor, Nawaz, Asad and Asif were involved in few partnerships, but they proved futile in the end as Federal Areas were bundled out for 266 in 46.1 overs.

Amad Butt was the most successful bowler from Balochistan with 3-45 while 18-year-old Umar Khan and Taj Wali took two wickets each and Ai Imran, Asad Shafiq and Ghulam Mudassar got one wicket each. With this victory, Balochistan topped the group with all four wins and will take on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the final.

Talking to The Nation after the match, Ali Imran said: “I am feeling very positive and looking forward to help my team win the title. “I want to become a bowling all-rounder, who can bowl a few overs and Pakistan team need a genuine all-rounder like me. If provided me with opportunities, I can assure the PCB and nation that I won’t disappoint and will give more than 100 percent.”

He said seniors are very helpful and give the juniors positivity. “Skipper Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal and Fawad Alam, all listen to juniors and help us in highly cordial manner. Cricket is a team’s game and there are no personal goals or ambitions. I want to play for the team and I want to request people of Islamabad and Rawalpindi to come in huge numbers and support cricket.

“Whatever today I am, it is just because of hard work and passion of my father, which made me determined to deliver for my teams and now I just want to do wonders for my national team. Whenever I will be given chance by selectors in Pakistan team, I will never disappoint.”

Scorecard

BALOCHISTAN:

Awais Zia c Rizwan b Khurram 13

Zeeshan Ashraf c Nihal b Sadaf 2

Asad Shafiq run out 72

Ali Imran c Shehzad b Bilal Asif 77

Umar Akmal st Rizwan b M Nawaz 77

Fawad Alam c Rizwan b Asad Afridi 19

Bismillah Khan c sub b Khurram 2

Amad Butt c Khurram b Sadaf 8

Umer Khan c sub b Sadaf Hussain 13

Taj Wali b Sadaf Hussain 0

Ghulam Mudassar not out 2

EXTRAS: (lb 1, w 3) 4

TOTAL: (all out, 49 overs) 289

FOW: 1-15, 2-15, 3-166, 4-174, 5-241, 6-258, 7-266, 8-279, 9-279, 10-289.

BOWLING: Sadaf Hussain 7-0-46-4, Khurram Shehzad 9-0-42-2, Mohammad Nawaz 10-0-57-1, Asad Afridi 10-0-65-1, Bilal Asif 10-0-61-1, Israrullah 3-0-17-0.

FEDERAL AREAS:

Ahmed Shehzad c Amad b Ali Imran 44

Israrullah b Asad Shafiq 31

Saud Shakeel c Bismillah b Amad Butt 40

M Rizwan c Umar Akmal b Umer Khan 76

Sohaib Maqsood c Ali b Ghulam Mudassar 7

Nihal Mansoor c Zeeshan b Taj Wali 22

M Nawaz c Ali Imran b Umer Khan 10

Asad Afridi c Bismillah b Taj Wali 15

Bilal Asif b Amad Butt 10

Sadaf Hussain b Amad Butt 2

Khurram Shehzad not out 1

EXTRAS: (lb 3, nb 1, w 4) 8

TOTAL: (all out, 46.1 overs) 266

FOW: 1-76, 2-86, 3-173, 4-189, 5-218, 6-229, 7-238, 8-254, 9-264, 10-266.

BOWLING: Ghulam Mudassar 8-0-48-1, Taj Wali 10-0-67-2, Umer Khan 10-0-45-2, Ali Imran 4-0-23-1, Asad Shafiq 4-0-23-1, Fawad Alam 1-0-12-0, Amad Butt 9.1-0-45-3.

TOSS: Federal Areas

UMPIRES: Ahsan Raza, Rashid Riaz

TV UMPIRES: Shozab Raza

RESERVE UMPIRE: Mohammad Sajid

MATCH REFEREE: Iqbal Sheikh