Rawalpindi: Balochistan maintained their unbeaten run in the Mughal Steel Pakistan Cup 2019 with a 23-run win over Federal Areas at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi, on Wednesday.
Balochistan defended a 290-run target with a disciplined bowling effort as Federal Areas were bowled out for 266 in 46.1 overs. The win meant Balochistan ended the round matches on top of the standings with seven points from four games with the last match between Sindh and Punjab remaining.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Balochistan’s opponents in the 12 April final) also have seven points from as many games, but Balochistan occupy the top spot due to their better net run-rate. The luckless Federal Areas lost all four games.
Federal Areas started their chase positively as openers Ahmad Shehzad (44, 36 balls, seven fours) and Israrullah (31, 41 balls, 6 fours) added 76 in 12 overs. Ahmad was dismissed by Ali Imran, with Israrullah following him shortly at the score of 86.
Saud Shakeel scored 40 (58 balls, two fours) and added 87 runs for the third wicket with captain Mohammad Rizwan. Federal Areas lost Sohaib Maqsood (seven) cheaply, while Rizwan’s dismissal for 76 (67 balls, nine fours) with 72 needed for a win, turned the game in Balochistan’s favour.
The lower-order failed to offer much resistance other than Nihal Mansoor who scored 22. Ammad Butt took three wickets for the victorious side.
Earlier, half-centuries by captain Asad Shafiq, Ali Imran and Umar Akmal were the highlights of Balochistan’s innings after openers Awais Zia (13) and Zeeshan Ashraf (2) fell inside the first 19 balls of the match.
Asad added 151-runs for the third wicket with Ali Imran before he was run-out for 72 (83 balls, eight fours, one six), while Ali was dismissed after contributing 77 (85 balls five fours, four sixes).
Umar Akmal gave the innings a much-needed impetus with a 45-ball 77, the right-hander hit six fours and four sixes before his dismissal in the 45th over.
Umar is now at top of the Mughal Steel Pakistan Cup batting charts with 319 runs in four games, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Khushdil Shah has 314, also from four games.
After Umar’s departure, the late-order caved in as Balochistan were bowled out for 289 in 49 overs. For Federal Areas left-arm seamer Sadaf Hussain took four wickets for 46 runs from seven overs.
Scores in brief:
Balochistan beat Federal Areas by 23 runs
Balochistan 289 all out in 49 overs (Umar Akmal 77, Ali Imran 77, Asad Shafiq 72; Sadaf Hussain 4-46 Khurram Shehzad 2-42)
Federal Areas 266 all out in 46.1 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 76, Ahmad Shehzad 44, Saud Shakeel 40; Ammad Butt 3-45)
Player of the match – Ali Imran
Thursday’s fixture – Sindh vs Punjab