Balochistan edge past Central Punjab after thrilling finish in National T20 Cup

Umar Gul claimed 4 wickets and played a crucial role in his team's victory

Balochistan edge past Central Punjab after thrilling finish in National T20 Cup PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

Balochistan defeated Central Punjab by three runs, after a thrilling finish in the ongoing National T20 Cup in Multan.

Chasing the 169-run target, opener Kamran Akmal made a good start but this was short-lived as he was sent packing by veteran pacer Umar Gul after scoring 25 runs off 15 balls.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah dismissed Abid Ali, 19 off 20 balls, to leave Central Punjab 63/2 in the ninth over. At this stage, youngster Abdullah Shafique and Rizwan Hussain took charge of the run-chase and stitched a crucial 52-run partnership to keep their side in control.

But just when Central Punjab seemed to be running away with the game, Shah struck twice in his final over, removing Hussain (22) and captain Saad Naseem (1), to bring Balochistan back in the match.

Umar Gul followed suit as he claimed the crucial scalp of Shafique, who scored 54 runs off 41 balls, and Irfan Khan (1) in the same over. He also bagged the wicket of Qasim Akram (6) to finish with figures of 4/37.

Zafar Gohar played a cameo of 32 runs from 15 balls to take his side close to the target but pacer Umaid Asif held his nerve in the final over to help Balochistan get over the line.

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Batting first, after winning the toss, Balochistan posted 168/8 in their allotted 20 overs.

Opener Imamul Haq carried the bat as he scored 80 runs off 55 balls. His unbeaten knock included eight fours and one six.

Despite 62-run opening stand between Awais Zia, 36 off 28, and Imam, the Balochistan innings remained bereft of momentum as the middle and lower order failed to capitalise on a decent start.

Captain Haris Sohail looked threatening for a bit but was dismissed after scoring 23 off 15 balls.

Apart from the top-0rder, no other Balochistan batsman was able to get into double figures.

For Central Punjab, pacer Ehsan Adil claimed three wickets for 40 runs in his four overs. Meanwhile, spinner Zafar Gohar bagged two wickets.