Central Punjab beat Balochistan by 9 wickets

In the second game, Central Punjab decimated Balochistan with a commanding nine wicket win. Babar Azam was in full flow as he completes his third successive half-century of the tournament. His unbeaten 40-ball 64 made a light work of the chase. His opening partnership with Kamran Akmal gave Punjab a great start as they added 86 together for the first wicket. Abdullah Shafique also looked in good touch as he scored a quick fire 27 off just 15. Central Punjab finished the chase in 14 overs giving their net run rate a huge boost.

In the first innings, Balochistan were never in the game. They kept on losing wickets at regular intervals and could only reach 125 for 8 in their 20 overs. A relatively unknown Ahmed Bashir was the chief destroyer as he picked up four wickets for just 23 runs. Ahmed was ably assisted by Qasim Akram and Usman Qadir as they tightened the screws from the other end. Overall all the bowlers

Haris Sohail with 41 was the highest run scorer for Balochistan. None of the other batters could reach 20.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Southern Punjab by 73 runs

Southern Punjab are on the blink of elimination after a crushing 73-run defeat at the hands of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who have sealed their spot in the last four. After a 34-ball 68 from Fakhar Zaman and a productive last six overs that saw Mohammad Rizwan’s side plunder 81 runs, Khyber set Southern a target of 206, the sixth time in seven matches that Shan Masood’s side conceded more than 200.

Shoaib Malik and Iftikhar Ahmed chipped in with useful 30s, while a spectacular unbeaten nine-ball 33 from Musadiq Ahmed ensured Khyber finished with a flourish.

Southern simply had no response to that. Masood was removed in the first over by Shaheen Afridi, who continued his brilliant form in the tournament, allowing only 14 runs to be scored off his four overs.

Malik bowled a wicket maiden that removed the dangerman Khushdil Shah before twin run-outs happened in the same over, as Southern pressed the panic button. The chase might have been over as a contest when Southern slumped to 78 for 7, but there was enough time for Ali Imran to reduce the margin of defeat, with an entertaining 28-ball 48. That, though, wasn’t enough to prevent Southern from crashing to the heaviest defeat of the tournament.

The author is a member of staff and heads the sports and business desks at The Correspondent. He mainly lives in the shadows as a ghost writer so you may have read his work and not even known it. He can be reached at asadqasim@thecorrespondent.pk


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