- Action photos available here; scorecard link is available here
- For further updates on the National T20 Cup, click here
- Official hashtags are #HarHaalMainCricket and #NationalT20Cup
- Urdu match report attached here
Rawalpindi, 12 October 2020: Fast bowler Ahmed Bashir took his career-best figures (four for 23) as Central Punjab earned much-needed two points in the 22nd match of the National T20 Cup for First XI teams with a comfortable nine-wicket victory against Balochistan at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Monday night.
The 24-year-old Ahmed, who had taken three wickets in his first appearance of the tournament against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa last Tuesday in Multan, took his tournament tally to seven wickets from a mere two appearances with a fine bowling effort on a pitch that offered some assistance to both seamers and spinners as Balochistan were restricted to 125 for eight in 20 overs.
Central Punjab batsmen then coasted past the target with captain Babar Azam making another entry in the record books by reaching 1000 runs in National T20 Cup in a mere 27 innings (fastest-ever). Babar followed his 86 not out and 86 in the previous two games with an exquisite unbeaten 64-run innings (40 balls, nine fours, two sixes).
Babar added 86 runs for the first-wicket with Kamran Akmal in a mere 9.4 overs, Kamran was dismissed by Amad Butt for 33 (27 balls, six fours)
Babar and Abdullah Shafiq finished the game with 38 balls to spare with an undefeated second-wicket stand of 41 runs; Abdullah scored 27 off 15 balls (four fours).
Reflecting on his performance, man-of-the-match Ahmed Bashir said: “The pitch is supporting the bowlers here as this is a faster pitch compared to Multan. The captain and coach told me to bowl as per the field. I also bowled slower ones and yorkers as they instructed and got the desired results for my team.”
Central Punjab asked Balochistan to bat first after winning the toss. Balochistan were rocked early in their innings as off-spinner Qasim Akram dismissed Imam-ul-Haq (5) and his Pakistan U19 teammate Abdul Wahid Bangalzai (0) off successive balls in the third over. Qasim who bowled brilliantly with the new ball conceded a mere seven runs in his three-over opening spell.
On the other end, Opener Awais Zia (5) was sent packing by Ahmed Bashir on the fifth ball of the sixth over as Balochistan were left reeling at 20 for three. The situation worsened for the batting side as Bismillah Khan was dismissed by leg-spinner Usman Qadir for 11 runs.
Akbar-ur-Rehman (19) added 44 runs for the fifth wicket with his captain Haris Sohail before falling to Bashir.
Haris top-scored with a fighting 41 off 36 balls (three fours, three sixes); he became Bashir’s fourth victim after the right-armer had accounted for Amad Butt (15) two balls earlier.
Meanwhile, Central Punjab have now accumulated six points from eight matches (three wins, five losses) while Balochistan have a tally of eight from as many games (four wins, four losses).
Scores in brief
Balochistan 125-8, 20 overs (Hairs Sohail 41, Akbar-ur-Rehman 19; Ahmed Bashir 4-23,Qasim Akram 2-7)
Central Punjab 127-1, 13.4 overs (Babar Azam 64 not out, Kamran Akmal 33, Abdullah Shafiq 27 not out; Amad Butt 1-23)
Result – Central Punjab won by nine wickets
Man-of-the-match – Ahmed Bashir (Central Punjab)