LAHORE    -    Khyber Pakhtunkhwa began their National T20 Cup 2019 campaign on a high note as they outlasted Balochistan by seven wickets in the opening match played at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad on Sunday.

According to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman, cashing the target of 141, Mohammad Rizwan-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chased down the total in 17.1 overs. The opening pair of Fakhar Zaman and Sahibzada Farhan provided solid foundation to their side with a partnership worth 58 runs. Fakhar played a swashbuckling knock 45 runs off 36 balls and played an integral role in setting the tone for what turned out to be a comfortable run chase. During his stay at the crease, the left-handed batsman struck six fours and a six.

Once the wickets of Fakhar and Sahibzada Farhan (14 off 20) fell, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa captain Mohammad Rizwan and Adil Amin ensured that there were no further hiccups and they completed the run chase in 17.1 overs losing just three wickets.

Earlier, Balochistan had scored 140 runs for the loss of nine wickets in 20 overs with Imam-ul-Haq making half of the team’s runs. The left-handed opening batsman proved to be the lone warrior, after Balochistan were put into bat, as he scored 70 off 51 balls, hitting three fours and four sixes.

The other notable contribution with the bat came from his opening partner, Awais Zia, who cracked a 27-ball 31 with three fours and two sixes. For Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, leg-spinner Mohammad Mohsin was the pick of the bowlers, returning four for 17 in four overs.  Mohammad Mohsin of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa emerged as player of the match. Ghaffar Kazmi and Aaley Haider officiated the match as field umpires while Iftikhar Ahmed was match referee and Ahmed Shahab TV umpire.

Meanwhile, in the National T20 2nd XI Tournament at the National Stadium, Karachi, Balochistan and Sindh recorded convincing victories against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Central Punjab respectively.

In the inaugural match of the tournament, Balochistan held their nerve in the closing stages to record a super over win over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Batting first, Balochistan scored 178 for the loss of two wickets after being asked to bat first. In reply, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa finished their 20 overs on 178 for six to push the match to a super over.

Sindh beat Central Punjab in the second match. Batting first, Central Punjab posted 166 for the loss of three wickets. An enterprising 103-run opening stand between Jahid Ali and Ammad Alam helped Sindh chase down the total in 17.3 overs for the loss of a single wicket.

SCORES IN BRIEF:

BALOCHISTAN: 140 for 9, 20 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 70, Awais Zia 31; Mohammad Mohsin 4-17)

KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA: 141 for 3, 17.1 overs (Fakhar Zaman 45, Adil Amin 47, Mohammad Rizwan 30)