Sohaib Maqsood shot 81 of 29 balls to secure a dramatic win for Southern Punjab and last place in the semifinals of the final group game of the T20 National Cup for the First XI held at Pindi Cricket Stadium on Friday.
SP v BAL | Pakistan National T20 Cup 2020 Match 30 Highlights
Southern Punjab, who had suffered at the bottom of the scoreboard for most of the tournament, had to chase 162 runs within 12.3 overs to advance to the next round. They looted 166 after losing three wickets in just 10.4 overs against Balochistan, which together with the elimination of the Haris Sohail-led unit defeated Central Punjab’s hopes of qualifying for the next round.
Turning the Herculean task into a cake was due to Sohaib, who was sent to open the innings with wicketkeeper batsman Zeeshan Ashraf, crushing 13 fours and four sixs.
The pair gave the run chase a profound start with a blistering 87-run alliance of just 5.3 overs. They made their intentions clear from the start as the assembled 14 runs from Umar Gul’s first over bowling, who made his final cricket match, added 20 more to their total in Taj Wali’s next over bowling.
The glitzy opening booth ended with Zeeshan’s sacking when he was caught by Taj Wali in front of Amad Butt after scoring a quick 10-ball 21.
The sacking didn’t detract from batting average, however, as Southern Punjab added 17 more over the next six balls. On the seventh delivery, Sohaib joined his opening partner in the pavilion after collecting 81 runs with an astonishing hit rate of almost 280 and setting the tone for the heroic run chase.
Sohaib Maqsood, The Man of The Game Said:
“After the first over, I told my partner that we could turn this run into an opportunity as there were 13-14 runs per over. We received clear instructions that either failed or got out. This victory will go a long way towards improving the mood in the camp. We’ll try to meet our fans’ expectations when we play in the semi-finals tomorrow. “
Aamer Yamin and Hussain Talat kept southern Punjab crossing the line with a searing, unbeaten score of 53 from just 19 balls. Aamer did not knock out four sixes and a four in his nine-ball 33. Hussain didn’t return to two fours and a six with 20 of only 11 balls.
In the early evening Balochistan won the litter and decided to hit first. They got off to a difficult start when Awais Zia was fired for one ball in five. Imam-u-Haq and Bismillah Khan came together and knitted a 69-year partnership of 54 balls for the second wicket.
Imam contributed a 37-ball 48 and hit three fours and two sixes, while Bismillah hit two fours and as many sixes in his 35-ball 41.
Haris was the next batsman to fall on Mohammad Ilyas before scoring 24 of 17 balls. Akbar-ur-Rehman, who came in fifth, remained unbeaten with 37 of 21 balls. His innings included three fours and two sixs, helping his team score 161 for six in 20 overs.
For Southern Punjab, the most successful bowler was Muhammad Imran, taking two wickets for 34 runs while Aamer Yamin, Ilyas and Zahid Mahmood snatched a wicket apiece.