Northern scored 165/9 in their allotted 20 overs
Babar Azam’s unbeaten 86-run knock and Faheem Ashraf’s all-round performance brought an end to Northern’s winning streak in the ongoing National T20 Cup as Central Punjab beat the table-toppers by eight wickets on Friday.
Chasing a target of 166 runs, Central Punjab got a perfect start as skipper Babar Azam and wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal brought up the team’s fifty in the 7th over.
However, Northern all-rounder Shadab Khan struck soon by removing Kamran Akmal first for 21, and then dismissing in-form youngster Abdullah Shafique for only three.
Faheem got a promotion in the batting order and didn’t disappoint as he stitched an unbeaten 106-run partnership with Babar to take Central Punjab over the line.
Ashraf hit a blistering 52 runs from 26 balls, which included seven fours and two sixes.
Northern suffered an early setback after electing to bat first, when left-arm pacer Shoaibullah dismissed opener Umar Amin for a duck in the first over of the innings.
Ashraf inflicted further damage as he bagged three wickets in his first two overs to leave Northern reeling at 52/4.
Hard-hitting batsman Asif Ali and Shadab then combined for an 87-run partnership to resurrect Northern innings.
Leg-spinner Usman Qadir provided much needed breakthrough for Central Punjab in the 16th over as he removed Asif (67 off 40) and Shadab (39 off 25) on back to back deliveries.
Ashraf was the pick of the bowlers for Central Punjab as he took four wickets while conceding only 18 runs in four overs, to restrict Northern to 165/9 in 20 overs.