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 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.
Scores in brief
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 154-6, 20 overs (Shoaib Malik 74, Fakhar Zaman 33; Akif Javed 2-20)
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)
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.
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.
Man of the Match Winner Awais Zia Interview | Match 17 Balochistan vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa | NT20
Reflecting on his performance, man-of-the-match Awais Zia said: “My start wasn’t bad in Multan but I was struggling a bit to convert my starts, I was a bit unlucky. Today the responsibility was on me with Imam’s absence as my opening partner and I am happy that I made it count. My management and captain Haris Sohail were supporting me throughout and kept sending me messages that I needed to stay at the wicket since I can score quick runs whenever the opportunity comes.”