Northern (Pakistan) will take on Balochistan in the final of the National T20 Cup at the Iqbal Stadium at Faisalabad on 24th October and the match will start at 5:30 PM local time (6:00 PM IST, 12:30 PM GMT).
The 16th edition of the tournament commenced on 13th October which saw six teams competing for the final honours, to be labeled as the country's best T20 team. With less than a year to go for the next T20 World Cup in Australia, the National T20 cup has produced quality talent this season, with youngsters such as 19-year-old Muhammad Musa Khan and 16-year-old fast bowler Nasim Shah making it to the squad for the Australian tour.
The weather is expected to be clear, with no chance of rainfall. Pacers should get some help in the initial part of the innings, but dew could play a massive role in troubling the spinners in the second innings.
Northern, led by Pakistan international Imad Wasim, topped the points table with eight points from five games. The other finalist, Balochistan, came second with three wins out of five macthes, gathering six points in the process.
In the only group stage match between the two finalists, Northern edged past Balochistan by seven wickets and 18 balls remaining. Balochistan batsman Hussain Talat’s 77 went in vain as Northern batsmen overhauled the target in only 17 overs, losing just three wickets. Ali Imran and Rohail Nair scored quick half-centuries and supported Shadab Khan, who returned with match figures of 4/26 from his four overs to script an easy victory. However, Balochistan could be expected to bounce back strongly in the final, which will be a different ball game altogether.
Northern (Pakistan) - 148/9 (20 overs)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa - 145/8 (20 overs)
In the first semi-final between Northern and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa yesterday, Northern held on to their nerves to register a thrilling win. Usman Shinwari picked up a five-wicket haul to dent Northern’s hopes of setting up a big total. Shinwari ended with incredible T20 figures of 5/13 from four overs.
In reply, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa didn't really got going, as the experienced trio of Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Amir, and Imad Wasim dried up the run-rate with some accurate bowling. Fakhar Zaman (39) and Iftikhar Ahmed (53) were the only batsmen to offer resistance but their efforts went in vain in the end.
Southern Punjab (Pakistan) 173/5 (20 overs)
Balochistan 178/7 (20 overs)
Moving on to the second semi-final, Balochistan defeated Southern Punjab by three wickets in a cliff-hanger that went all the way to the last ball. Needing two runs off the last ball, Amad Butt hit Umaid Asif for a six to rap up an intensely fought contest.
Put into bat first, Southern Punjab’s Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik scored fifties in quick time to help post a competitive total of 174 on the board. In reply, small contributions from the entire team, including a few from the lower middle-order helped Balochistan book a spot in the finals. Hussain Talat scored 42 runs in 29 balls to get Balochistan back in the game, and yet, it was Amad Butt’s 29 off 14 balls that proved to be decisive at the end.
Probable Playing XIs
Umar Amin, Ali Imran, Sohail Akthar, Rohail Nazir (wicketkeeper), Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Imad Wasim (captain), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Sohail Tanvir, Haris Rauf.
Imam-ul-Haq, Awais Zia, Bismillah Khan (wicketkeeper), Imran Farhat, Haris Sohail (captain), Amad Butt, Hussain Talat, Akif Javed, Yasir Shah, Ali Shafiq, Umar Gul.
Haris Sohail (captain), Imran Farhat (vice-captain), Akif Javed, Ali Shafiq, Amad Butt, Awais Zia, Bismillah Khan (wicketkeeper), Hussain Talat, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Butt, Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Talha, Shahbaz Khan, Taimur Khan, Umar Gul and Yasir ShahPakistan
Imad Wasim (captain), Umar Amin (vice-captain), Ali Imran, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Hammad Azam, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Nawaz, Musa Khan, Naveed Malik, Rohail Nazir, Shadab Khan, Sohail Akhtar, Sohail Tanvir and Zaid AlamPublished 24 Oct 2019, 14:57 IST