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Sohaib Maqsood’s magical innings helps Southern Punjab qualify for semis

Right-hander played a blazing knock of 81 runs in the National T20 Cup

PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

A blazing 81-run knock, off just 29 balls, by Sohaib Maqsood helped Southern Punjab qualify for the semi-finals of the ongoing National T20 Cup in Rawalpindi.

The Shan Masood-led unit were set a target of 162 runs by Balochistan but Southern Punjab needed to chase down the total in 12.3 overs to seal a place in the final four. Despite the herculean task, Southern Punjab knocked off the runs in 10.4 overs in stunning fashion.

Sohaib, who came out to open the innings with wicketkeeper-batsman Zeeshan Ashraf, smacked 13 fours and four sixes. The duo provided a blistering 87-run stand from just 5.3 overs.

The opening partnership ended with Zeeshan’s dismissal as he was caught by Taj Wali off Amad Butt after scoring 21 runs off just 10 balls. The dismissal, however, did not slow down the scoring rate as Southern Punjab continue to pile on the runs.

Sohaib went back in the pavilion after he had scored 81 runs at a staggering strike rate of just under 280 but despite his departure, Aamer Yamin and Hussain Talat ensured that Southern Punjab crossed the finish line with a breathtaking undefeated stand of 53 from just 19 balls.

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Aamer smacked four sixes and a four in his nine-ball unbeaten 33. Hussain returned not out at 20 from just 11 balls with the help of two fours and a six.

Earlier, Balochistan won the toss and decided to bat first. They got off to a poor start as Awais Zia was sent packing for one off five balls. Imamu Haq and Bismillah Khan got together and stitched a 69-run partnership off 54 balls for the second wicket.

Imam added a 37-ball 48, smashing three fours and two sixes, while Bismillah smacked two fours and as many sixes in his 35-ball 41.

Haris was the next batsman to go, falling to Mohammad Ilyas before adding 24 from 17 balls. Akbarur Rehman coming to bat at number five remained not out on 37 from 21 balls. His innings included three fours and two sixes and helped his side to post 161 for six in 20 overs.

For Southern Punjab, Muhammad Imran was the pick of the bwolers taking two wickets for 34 runs, while Aamer Yamin, Ilyas and Zahid Mahmood bagged a wicket apiece.

Southern Punjab will face Northern, meanwhile Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will lock horns with Sindh, in the semi-finals of the event, which are scheduled to be played on Saturday, October 17.