ISLAMABAD, Oct 15 (APP):A superb 86-run innings from Haider Ali helped Northern gain a 39-run victory over Balochistan in the 27th match of the National T20 Cup First XI tournament played at the Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi on Thursday.
This was Northern’s seventh win in nine matches. The right-handed batsman along with Ali Imran, who blasted 41 off 22 at the back of three sixes and four fours, provided a sparkling start to Northern with a 92-run opening stand from just 8.3 overs.
He then weathered the storm in a 50-run alliance, formed over 26 balls, with Shadab Khan after Northern slipped to 101 for three with the dismissals of Sohail Akhtar (one off two) and Asif Ali (three of seven) in nine balls.
Haider dismissed by Akhtar Shah, promoted to Balochistan’s First XI team after an impressive run in the Second XI National T20 Cup, on the last ball of the 15th over – struck five sixes and eight fours in the 50 balls he faced as he scored his 86 runs at a strike rate of 172. He was later named man-of-the-match.
This was the 20-year-old’s second half-century of the tournament and fourth of his overall T20 career and proved to be instrumental in helping Northern, the table-toppers, post an imposing 199 for six.
Reflecting on his match-defining innings, Haider said, “I am quite happy that I have received a man-of-the-match award at my home ground. I am making a comeback so it was important for me to adjust to the conditions.
“Opening the batting helped me in that regard as I got ample time to read them before I played my shots freely.”
Following Haider’s dismissal, Shadab, who by then had made 15 off 10, took the lead role as he finished on 42 not out from 27. Balochistan’s Amad Butt took two wickets for 29 runs.
Balochistan, in the reply, crumbled after a 69-run opening stand between Imam-ul-Haq and Awais Zia. The partnership was broken in the eighth over as Imam, who made the highest score of the innings with 35 off 21 balls, was run out.
Shadab’s leg-spin aggravated the situation for Balochistan as the 22-year-old dismissed Awais (34 off 27, two fours and two sixes) and Bismillah Khan (0 off one) on back-to-back balls in the ninth over.
A 37-run partnership between Haris Sohail and Abdul Wahid Bangalzai for the fourth wicket followed. But, that could not help Balochistan bounce back into the match as they failed to recover from the earlier collapse and finished 39 runs short.
Northern’s Shadab and Mohammad Ismail finished with two wickets apiece.
Scores in brief: Northern 199-6, 20 overs (Haider Ali 86, Shadab Khan 42 not out, Ali Imran 41; Amad Butt 2-29).
Balochistan 160-8, 20 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 35, Awais Zia 34, Haris Sohail 28; Shadab Khan 2-13; Mohammad Ismail 2-32).