Lahore: Half-centuries by opener Ali Imran and number three Zeeshan Malik spearheaded Northern’s sixth National T20 Cup win over Balochistan which ensured a semi-final spot in the 26th match of the tournament.
Wicketkeeper Rohail Nazir and Sohail Tanvir scored the required 15 off the first five balls of the final over bowled by Junaid Khan with the veteran Sohail depositing Junaid over the mid-wicket boundary to snatch a thrilling win for his side on the penultimate ball of the match.
On Saturday night, Ali and Zeeshan combined for an 88-run match winning second-wicket partnership in Northern’s 186-run chase under the GSL lights.
Ali hit three fours and five sixes in his 45-ball 64 while Zeeshan scored 53 off 35 balls (six fours, two sixes). Ali added 60 runs in a blazing first-wicket stand with Nasir Nawaz who hit a typically aggressive 30 off 21 balls (three fours, one six).
Both Ali and Zeeshan fell in quick succession, Northern then lost Umar Amin and Aamir Jamal in search of boundaries as the asking rate soared. Umaid Asif produced a sensational penultimate over which went for a mere five runs including the wicket of Aamir.
The match had swung in Balochistan’s favour when the final over started, Rohail hit a four off the first ball before Sohail hit a four before his match winning six.
Earlier, Northern won the toss and opted to bowl. Balochistan opener Abdullah Shafique played a series of stunning shots in the powerplay overs as he added 51 runs for the first-wicket with Abdul Wahid Bangalzai (4).
Abdullah who was in supreme touch continued to assert his presence on the Northern bowlers, the right-hander reached the third fifty of his T20 career off 30 balls. He was eventually dismissed by Aamir for 73 off 44 balls (12 fours, one six).
Abdullah added 63 runs for the second-wicket with captain Imam-ul-Haq, the left-hander scored 50 off 39 balls (seven fours).
Sohail Akhtar (16) and Umaid Asif (17) hit some lusty blows in the death overs to take Balochistan to their 185 for seven total. Fast bowler Zaman Khan took three wickets for Northern.