LAHORE - Fine bowling by Muhammad Irfan Junior and brilliant batting by Kashif Bhatti guided Fata Region to narrow 3-run win over Islamabad in the 15th National Twenty20 Cup match played at Multan Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

Islamabad region won the toss and opted to field first. Playing first, Fata piled up a total of 146 runs after losing seven wickets in allotted 20 overs. Kashif Bhatti boosted Fata’s total by smashing 12-ball 34 runs laced with 6 cracking boundaries and one towering six. Samiullah Junior (29), Adil Amin (27), Sohail Akhtar (21) and Mukhtar Ahmed (14) were other key contributor for Fata. Ahmed Bashir from Islamabad bagged two wickets while Adeel Malik, Arsal Sheikh, Imad Wasim and Sohail Khan got one wicket apiece.

Islamabad Region though started well as besides their opener Abid Ali, who could score just one run, the other top order batsmen batted well but they couldn’t stay at the crease for long and kept on losing their wickets on regular interval, thus their team lost the match by a narrow margin of just 3 runs. Islamabad could score 143-8 in 20 overs. Iftikhar Ahmed was top scorer for Islamabad with unbeaten 32 runs while wicketkeeper Rohail Nazir and captain Imad Wasim contributed 27 and 24 runs respectively but their couldn’t earn victory for their team.

M Irfan Junior was main wrecker-in-chief of Islamabad batting line up as he claimed three wickets for Fata while the remaining scalps were share by Kashif Bhatti, Asad Afridi, Usman Mir and Sameen Gul, who all took one wicket each. M Irfan Junior and Kashif Bhatti were named joint men of the match.

Hammad Azam and Muhammad Nawaz batted Rawalpindi Region to a convincing 4-wicket victory over Peshawar Region in the second match of the day played at Multan Cricket Stadium. Rawalpindi Region won the toss and elected to field first. Peshawar, put into bat first, scored 153 runs for the loss of 4 wickets in 20 overs.

Saad Ali emerged as top scorer with 46 runs which he gathered in 38 balls hitting four boundaries while Nabi Gul contributed 24-ball 32, Fawad Khan 24-ball 30 and Muhammad Mohsin 18-ball 25 runs. Abdul Rehman and Zahid Mansoor got one wicket each for Rawalpindi conceding 17 and 29 runs respectively.

Rawalpindi Region replied strongly and chased the required target losing 6 wickets in 19.4 overs. Both Hammad and Muhammad Nawaz played outstanding unbeaten knocks of 37 runs each to steer their team to a well-deserving win. Hammad Azam slammed unbeaten 20-ball 37 and same score was struck by Muhammad Nawaz in 30 balls. Sami Aslam gathered 25 and Zahid Mansoor 20.

Muhammad Mohsin bagged 2 wickets for 25, Waqas Maqsood 2 for 29 and Sajid Khan 1 for 20. Rawalpindi’s Hammad Azam and Muhammad Nawaz were declared joint players of the match.

SCORES IN BRIEF FIRST MATCH

FATA REGION: 146-7 in 20 overs (Kashif Bhatti 34*, 12 balls, 6x4s, 1x6, Samiullah Jr. 29, 31 balls, 2x4s, 1x6, Adil Amin27, 26 balls, 3x4s, Sohail Akhtar 21, 22 balls, 2x4s, 1x6, Ahmed Bashir 2-18, Adeel Malik 1-14, Arsal Sheikh 1-18, Imad Wasim 1-25, Sohail Khan 1-30)

ISLAMABAD REGION: 143-8 in 20 overs (Iftikhar Ahmed 32*, 37 balls, 1x6, Rohail Nazir 27, 23 balls, 3x4s, Imad Wasim 24, 26 balls, 2x4s, Muhammad Irfan Jr 3-24, Kashif Bhatti 1-14, Asad Afridi 1-19, Usman Mir 1-28, Sameen Gul 1-42)

SECOND MATCH

PESHAWAR REGION: 153-4 in 20 overs (Saad Ali 46*, 38 balls, 4x4s, Nabi Gul 32, 24 balls, 1x4, 2x6s, Fawad Khan 30, 24 balls, 2x6s, Muhammad Mohsin 25, 18 balls, 2x4s, 2x6s, Abdul Rehman 1-17, Zahid Mansoor 1-29)

RAWALPINDI REGION: 154-6 in 19.4 overs (Hammad Azam 37*, 20 balls, 4x4s, Muhammad Nawaz 37*, 30 balls, 2x4s, Sami Aslam 25, 23 balls, 2x4s, Zahid Mansoor 20, 12 balls, 2x6s, Muhammad Mohsin 2-25, Waqas Maqsood 2-29, Sajid Khan 1-20).