LAHORE     -     Sindh beat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by eight runs and secured their second win in the ongoing National T20 Cup at Faisalabad’s Iqbal Stadium.

While batting first, the Asad Shafiq-led side scored 176 runs for the loss of six wickets. The opening pair of Khurram Manzoor and Ahsan Ali provided a solid foundation with a 83-run opening stand in 10.1 overs. The partnership ended with the dismissal of Khurram, who scored 35 off 32 with five fours. But Ahsan kept going from the other end and cracked brilliant 37-ball 64, hitting eight fours and three sixes. The 25-year-old was later named man-of-the-match. Saad Ali was the other notable scorer with 20 off 18.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa used five bowlers, who all picked up a wicket each. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa wobbled earlier in the chase as they were 48 for three in 5.5 overs due to two back-to-back wickets of Fakhar Zaman (15 off 11) and Mohammad Mohsin, who registered a golden duck, off Mohammad Hasnain’s bowling in the fifth over of the innings.

A 52-run partnership for the fourth-wicket between captain Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed denied any further inroads to Sindh bowlers. Rizwan kept the contest alive till the very last over, scoring 43-ball 70, before he was dismissed on the third ball of the last over. The wicketkeeper-batsman struck six fours and two sixes during his stay at the crease. Anwar Ali was the pick of the bowlers for Sindh, taking three wickets for 30 runs in three overs.

Meanwhile, half-centuries by Awais Zia and Bismillah Khan helped Balochistan secure a comfortable 27-run win over Central Punjab in the seventh match of the tournament at Faisalabad’s Iqbal Stadium.

The pair crafted a 61-run partnership for second-wicket, which set the tone for Balochistan to score 164 for eight in 20 overs. Awais scored 56 off 43 with four fours and two sixes and Bismillah registered a 23-ball 51.

For Central Punjab, Faheem Ashraf was the pick of the bowlers with three for 33 in four overs. The chase got off to a solid start with Ahmed Shehzad, who stretched his batting form into this match, and captain Babar Azam putting up a 59-run first-wicket stand in the first six overs. However, the wicket of Babar, who scored 30 runs from 20 balls with three fours and a six, initiated a batting collapse.

Ahmed tried to keep the run-chase on track, scoring a 41-ball 52 with five fours and a six, but failed to find the desired support, as Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal and Rizwan Hussain registered single-digit scores. Saad Nasim and Usman Qadir were the only batsmen, who made it to the double-digits with 18 off 15 and 10 off 10, respectively. Amad Butt once again was the pick of the bowlers for Balochistan with three for 23. Umar Gul and Yasir Shah picked up two wickets each, giving away 33 and 19, respectively.

SCORES IN BRIEF

Sindh: 176-6, 20 overs (Ahsan Ali 64, Khurram Manzoor 35, Saad Ali 20)

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 168-6, 20 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 70, Israrullah 28, Iftikhar Ahmed 20; Anwar Ali 3-30, Mohammad Hasnain 2-29)

Balochistan: 164-8, 20 overs (Awais Zia 56, Bismillah Khan 51; Faheem Ashraf 3-33)

Central Punjab: 137-8, 20 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 52, Babar Azam 30; Amad Butt 3-23, Yasir Shah 2-19, Umar Gul 2-33)