Babar claims another record despite Central Punjab’s defeat

Top-order batsman has extended his purple patch to National T20 Cup

Babar claims another record despite Central Punjab’s defeat PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

Half-centuries by Awais Zia and Bismillah Khan helped Balochistan secure a comfortable win by 27 runs over Central Punjab in the seventh match of the ongoing National T20 Cup at Faisalabad’s Iqbal Stadium.

The pair crafted a 61-run partnership for second-wicket which set the tone for Balochistan to score 164 for eight in 20 overs after they were asked to bat.

Awais scored 56 off 43 with four fours and two sixes and Bismillah registered a 23-ball 51. These were both batsmen’s back-to-back fifties in two matches.

For Central Punjab, Faheem Ashraf was the pick of the bowlers with three for 33 in four overs.

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The chase got off to a solid start with Ahmed Shehzad, who stretched his batting form into this match, and captain Babar Azam putting up a 59-run first-wicket stand in the first six overs.

However, the wicket of Babar, who scored 30 runs from 20 balls with three fours and a six, initiated a batting collapse.

Babar’s brief stay at the wicket was enough for him to go past fellow Pakistan middle-order batsman Umar Akmal’s record, who had scored 1386 runs in T20s in 2016, for most runs in T20s for Pakistan in a calendar year.

Ahmed tried to keep the run-chase on track, scoring a 41-ball 52 with five fours and a six, but failed to find the desired support as Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal and Rizwan Hussain registered single-digit scores.

Saad Nasim and Usman Qadir were the only batsmen who made it to the double-digits with 18 off 15 and 10 off 10, respectively.

Amad Butt once again was the pick of the bowlers for Balochistan with three for 23.

Umar Gul and Yasir Shah picked up two wickets each, giving away 33 and 19, respectively.

Scores in brief:

Balochistan 164-8, 20 overs (Awais Zia 56, Bismillah Khan 51; Faheem Ashraf 3-33)

Central Punjab 137-8, 20 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 52, Babar Azam 30; Amad Butt 3-23, Yasir Shah 2-19, Umar Gul 2-33)