KARACHI: After a high-scoring good chase against Southern Punjab, Sindh was guaranteed No.1 spot in the Pakistan Cup, who are still in the hunt for the semi-finals along with Northern, despite losing.
Meanwhile, after completing a fifth triumph against Central Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa booked their last-four spot, who are also in with a chance of qualifying for the knockout stage, given the defeat of the high-flying Sindh in the last round of preliminary fixtures on Tuesday.
After beginning the game with three straight victories, Northern eventually brought an end to a five-match losing streak with a critical reversal at the NBP Sports Complex against the eliminated Balochistan.
Balochistan, put in, posted 249-6 on the basis of the sixth wicket’s 136-run partnership involving Akbar-ur-Rehman (75 out of 89 balls, four boundaries) and Ayaz Tasawwarbar) (unbeaten 82 off 68, six fours and two sixes).
With 20 deliveries to spare, Northern managed to get over the line with young Haider Ali (53) and man-of-the-match Rohail Nazir (undefeated 69) starring for them.
The landslide of runs continued as Sindh and Southern Punjab combined on the featherbed of the SBP Sports Complex to rack up a record of 797 runs in 96.5 overs. Southern Punjab hit their way out to 348-4 in 50 overs after losing the toss.
The foundation was laid out by skipper Shan Masood and Sohaib Maqsood, who shared a massive second-wicket partnership of exactly 200, with both men striking contrasting tons. While Shan struck a 141-ball 125 (13 fours and one six), Sohaib bludgeoned 10 sixes and nine fours in making a whirlwind 130. But their heroics failed to stop Sindh from sealing their seventh success with 19 balls to spare.
Four of the Sindh batsmen scored more than 50 but the game-changing stand was the unbroken stand of 145 between joint winners of the man-of-the-match award Saad Ali (78 off 54, nine fours and one six) and captain Anwar Ali (69 off 34, five sixes and three fours), while other main contributors were Asad Shafiq (62 off 61, seven boundaries) and Danish Aziz (64 off 61, eight fours and one six).
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa posted 328-9 after they were inserted in at the UBL Sports Complex by Central Punjab. Fakhar Zaman (92 off 95, eight fours and three sixes) and man-of-the-match Iftikhar Ahmed (76 off 71, five sixes and four fours) put on 145 for the third wicket but the icing on the cake was decorated by Adil Amin’s 43-ball 51 (three sixes and two fours).
Central Punjab managed only 259 in reply to lose by 69 runs with Iftikhar taking 4-47 in his 10 overs of off-spinners.
Results on Sunday:
At SBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Sindh beat Southern Punjab by five wickets.
SOUTHERN PUNJAB 348-4 in 50 overs (Sohaib Maqsood 130, Shan Masood 125, Hussain Talat 46 not out, Mukhtar Ahmed 30; Mohammad Hasnain 2-38); SINDH 349-5 in 46.5 overs (Saad Ali 78 not out, Anwar Ali 69 not out, Danish Aziz 65, Asad Shafiq 62, Khurram Manzoor 34; Mohammad Abbas 2-62).
At UBL Sports Complex, Karachi: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Central Punjab by five 69 runs.
KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA 328-9 in 50 overs (Fakhar Zaman 92, Iftikhar Ahmed 76, Adil Amin 51, Khalid Usman 30, Mohammad Haris 20 not out; Zafar Gohar 3-49, Qasim Akram 2-36); CENTRAL PUNJAB 259 in 44.3 overs (Qasim Akram 67, Raza Ali Dar 50, Rizwan Hussain 46, Saad Nasim 24, Zafar Gohar 24; Iftikhar Ahmed 4-47, Asif Afridi 3-65, Imran Khan 2-56).
At NBP Sports Complex, Karachi: Northern beat Balochistan by six wickets.
BALOCHISTAN 249-6 in 50 overs (Ayaz Tasawwar 82 not out, Akbar-ur-Rehman 75, Imran Farhat 48; Athar Mahmood 2-54, Waqas Ahmed 2-65); NORTHERN 252-4 in 46.4 overs (Rohail Nazir 69 not out, Haider Ali 53, Umar Amin 47, Hammad Azam 30 not out, Taimoor Sultan 24; Mohammad Junaid 2-49).
Tuesday’s fixtures (matches start at 9:30am PST): Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Balochistan (SBP Sports Complex, Karachi); Southern Punjab vs Northern (UBL Sports Complex, Karachi);
Sindh vs Central Punjab (NBP Sports Complex, Karachi).
(Tabulated under played, won, lost, points, net run-rate):
Sindh 9 7 2 14 +0.952
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 9 5 4 10 +0.293
Southern Punjab 9 4 5 8 +0.108
Northern 9 4 5 8 -0.161
Central Punjab 9 4 5 8 -0.388
Balochistan 9 3 6 6 -0.718