Pakistan National T20 Cup – Sharjeel Khan century knocks out Southern Punjab, Northern seal last-over win

Ahmed Shehzad was unbeaten on 77 off 45 balls, with Central Punjab finally falling.

Sindh 196 runs 7 (Sharjeel 101, Imran 2-32) beat South Punjab 151 (Tahir 32, Raees 3-23) 45 runs.

Sharjeel Khan scored a century off 54 balls as the Sindh bowlers put up a challenging 196 to help South Punjab to a 45-run victory. SP remains at the bottom of the table, while Sindh remains at the top of the table with 10 points, securing a place in the top four.

Shane Masood (22 off 15 balls) and Sharjeel removed SP to bowl opener Ahsan Ali before batting cautiously for the next two overs. However, Naseem Shah scored 19 in the second over and it did not take long for both the batsmen to find the legs to move the innings forward. Sad Shakeel (26 off 19 balls) shared a 56-run partnership with Sharjeel, hitting 13 fours and four sixes to complete his fourth T20I century.

In the final over, Sindhu was looking for more than 200 runs with a strength of 189 for 4, but they stumbled and lost three wickets to add only seven runs.

SP lost Zeeshan Ashraf before Theb Tahir scored 32 off 23 balls and made some repairs, but not for long. Assam Khan – who missed out on a place in the World Cup squad – failed to make a mark and Sarfaraz Ahmed was dismissed for 2 off four balls. Mohammad Imran (29 off 20 balls) and Aamir Yameen (27 off 18 balls) tried to pull off the game, but regular wickets meant that SP never came close to the required run rate and scored 151 in 18.5 overs. With just one match left in seven of the nine games, they are now out of the semi-finals.

Northern 195 (5 Imran 55, Haider 37, Qasim 2-15) Central Punjab 5 for 194 (Shahzad 77, Akhlaq 61, Jamal 3-38)

North Punjab chased a sensational 195-run target to win by five wickets, which, with three balls remaining, seemed an unlikely prospect for most of the innings.

Central Punjab went down to bat, and the young crowd was used to make good hits by Ahmed Shehzad, who spent years leaving his team behind for a flying start. At the other end, Muhammad Akhlaq kept Shahzad in Star Company and the openers took CP to 124 in 12 overs.

However, once Aamir Jamal Shehzad was bowled clean, the batsmen following him struggled to maintain the scoring rate and the North slowly began to hold the match. Jamal Fahim dismissed Ashraf and Shoaib Malik early and an innings that seemed like a comfortable 200 ended in 194.

The second-wicket partnership between Ali Imran and Haider Ali is a two-run partnership – renewed for the T20 World Cup – with the Northern region asking for around ten runs per over, but three for two.

The CP seemed to be slowly taking control of the game, but Rohel Nazir and Jamal’s surprise attack kept the game alive. In the end, the pair added 50 off 25 balls, and once Wahab took Riaz to 20 in the last over, he sealed North’s victory in the last four overs at the expense of Fahim.

 

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