LAHORE:Balochistan and Southern Punjab eased through to comprehensive wins over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Northern today in the 10th and final round of the Pakistan Cup to cement their places in the semi-finals of the 50-over tournament in Karachi on Thursday.
According to the information made available here by the Pakistan Cricket Board, Central Punjab, who have topped the points table with 14 points, will take on fourth-placed Southern Punjab in the first semi-final on 31 December. Defending champions Balochistan, who ended up with 12 points from 10 matches and on the second spot will take on third-positioned Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the second semi-final on 1 January. The final of the tournament will be played on 2 January. Both semi-finals and the final will be played at the State Bank Stadium. The semi-finals will be broadcast live on PTV Sports.
In today’s fixture between Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at the NBP Sports Complex, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, after being put into bat, were bowled out for 133 in 31 overs with Fakhar Zaman (32, 37b, 5×4) and Adil Amin (28 not out, 33b, 4×4) adding runs with the bat.
For Balochistan, Mohammad Junaid was the pick of the bowlers with four for 37 from eight overs. Captain Yasir Shah bagged three wickets for 26.
In reply, Balochistan achieved the target inside 19 overs with three wickets down. The opening pair of Haseebullah and Imran Butt knitted 64 runs for the first wicket, with left-handed Haseebullah contributing 53 off 32 balls, smashing 11 fours. Imran, returned undefeated on 63 off 46 balls, hitting 10 fours and one six.
In the contest between table toppers Central Punjab and National T20 winners Sindh, the latter failed to chase down the 311-run target and with that lost a chance to seal a berth in the semi-finals. After being asked to bat first, Central Punjab scored 310 for nine in 50 overs courtesy half-centuries by Ahmed Shehzad (67, 83b, 6×4, 2×6) and Tayyab Tahir (59, 46b, 5×4, 3×6).
For Sindh, Asif Mehmood and Sohail Khan took two wickets apiece.
In return, Sindh got a decent 43-run start provided by southpaws Saim Ayub (15, 20b, 1×4) and Sharjeel Khan (32, 19b, 6×4), but after the departure of both batters, only Faraz Ali coming to bat at number four showed some resistance with a knock of 64 off 80 balls, which included one four and two sixes.
Down the order, skipper Anwar Ali (30, 35b, 4×4) and Sohail Khan (43, 29b, 2×4, 4×6) showed some glimpses of brilliance, but were unable to assist the Sindh side in reaching the target as they were bundled out for 244 with five overs to spare.
For the winning side, Usama Mir grabbed three wickets, while Mohammad Ali and Waqas Maqsood took two wickets each.
In the third contest of the 10th round, Southern Punjab, staged a stunning comeback to qualify for the semi-finals. Before facing Northern in the final round match, Southern Punjab were placed at the bottom of the table with six points from nine games, but a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Northern and getting the 121-run target in the 16th over, not only gave Southern Punjab valuable two points, but also improved their net run-rate which helped them go above Sindh in the points table.
At the UBL Sports Complex, after opting to bat first, Northern were dismissed for 120 in the 32nd over. Mubasir Khan (29, 40b, 5×4) and Umar Amin (25, 44b, 3×4) were the only batters to score in 20s.
For Southern Punjab, Mohammad Umair took four wickets for 19 runs from seven overs, while Sharoon Siraj grabbed three wickets for 32.
In reply, Mohammad Shehzad’s unbeaten 60 off 50 balls, which included eight fours and one six helped his side chase down the target in 15.1 overs.
Scores in brief:
Balochistan beat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by seven wickets
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 133 all out, 31 overs (Fakhar Zaman 32, Adil Amin 28 not out; Mohammad Junaid 4-37, Yasir Shah 3-26)
Balochistan 137-3, 18.3 overs (Imran Butt 63 not out, Haseebullah 53; Ihsanullah 2-31)
Central Punjab beat Sindh by 66 runs
Central Punjab 310-9, 50 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 67, Tayyab Tahir 59; Sohail Khan 2-41, Asif Mehmood 2-65)
Sindh 244 all out, 45 overs (Faraz Ali 64, Sohail Khan 43, Sharjeel Khan 32; Usama Mir 3-41, Mohammad Ali 2-43, Waqas Maqsood 2-60)
Southern Punjab beat Northern by eight wickets
Northern 120 all out, 31.5 overs (Mubasir Khan 29, Umar Amin 25; Mohammad Umair 4-19, Sharoon Siraj 3-32)
Southern Punjab 121-2, 15.1 overs (Mohammad Shehzad 60 not out, Sharoon Siraj 37)
31 December; Central Punjab v Southern Punjab, State Bank Stadium (1st semi-final)
1 January; Balochistan v Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, State Bank Stadium (2nd semi-final).