Khyber Pakhtunkhwa batsman Shoaib Malik hits for a boundary against Balochistan during their National Twenty20 Cup match on Saturday.
RAWALPINDI: Balochistan registered their fourth win in six games to move a step closer to securing a semi-final berth in the 17th match of the National T20 Cup for First XI teams at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium here on Saturday. Opener Awais Zia scored an unbeaten 92 to ensure his team easily surpass the 155-run chase against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Balochistan are now at the second spot in the six-team table with eight points from six matches behind Northern who have 10 points from six matches. Awais faced a mere 49 balls (10 fours, four sixes) in his brilliant effort that ensured Balochistan’s six wicket victory with 20 balls to spare. Balochistan lost two early wickets as Shaheen Shah Afridi continued his stunning bowling form by dismissing newcomer Abdul Wahid Bangalzai for a duck and Bismillah Khan for 18 in a pacy opening spell.
Earlier, Balochistan opted to bowl first after winning the toss. Their bowlers produced a commendable job to restrict the powerful Khyber Pakhtunkhwa batting line-up to 154 for six in 20 overs. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lost captain Mohammad Rizwan (5) and Mohammad Hafeez (4) cheaply. Fakhar Zaman (33 off 34 balls, two fours, three sixes) added 38 runs for the third wicket with Shoaib Malik. Malik then added 69 runs for the fourth wicket with Sahibzada Farhan who contributed 12 runs to the partnership. The seasoned Malik became the first Pakistan batsman (third overall) to reach the milestone of 10,000 runs in T20 cricket. Malik appeared in his 395th T20 match today, he joined the 10,000-run club mark when he reached 47. Malik held the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa innings together before falling to Umar Gul for 74. His innings included eight fours and two sixes and came off 44 balls. Left-armer Akif Javed with two wickets for 20 runs was the most successful Balochistan bowler.
Scores in brief:
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 154-6, 20 overs (Shoaib Malik 74, Fakhar Zaman 33; Akif Javed 2-20) VS Balochistan 156-4, 16.4 overs (Awais Zia 92 not out, Akbar-ur-Rehman 24 not out; Shaheen Shah Afridi 2-38)
Result: Balochistan won by six wickets
Man-of-the-match: Awais Zia (Balochistan).