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Azhar, Gul star as Balochistan stun Punjab

Azhar Ali and Umar Gul bowled tightly to enable Balochistan to beat Punjab by 12 runs in their opening game of Pakistan Cup 2016 at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad, on Tuesday.

Azhar Ali and Umar Gul bowled tightly to enable Balochistan to beat Punjab by 12 runs in their opening game of Pakistan Cup 2016 at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad, on Tuesday.

Skipper Azhar bagged 3-24 in five overs with his leg-spin and Test pacer Gul claimed 3-43 in ten overs to dismiss Punjab for 203 in 49 overs while chasing 216.

Earlier, Shahid Yousuf (49), Umar Akmal (47) and Babar Azam (41) guided Balochistan to 215 all out.

After being invited to bat first on a tricky pitch, Balochistan had a poor start as young medium pacer Aamer Yamin had skipper Azhar Ali (3) off the first ball of the second over. It was a full length delivery, pitched outside the off stump and moved away. Azhar tried to play it with an angled bat and had a thick edge to the glove-man Rizwan.

Stumper Mohammad Hasan (21) joined Babar Azam (41) and the duo shared 47 off 62 balls for the second wicket before left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar caught the former off his own bowling. Hasan smacked three fours from 30 balls.

Young all-rounder Amad Butt removed Babar, caught by Shoaib Malik at mid-off after he had added 34 off 45 balls for the third wicket with Umar Akmal (47). Balochistan were 84-3 in 19 overs at that stage. Babar smashed five fours from 57 deliveries.

Akmal and Shahid (49) shouldered the responsibility and added 65 off 65 balls before Shoaib bowled the former. Akmal struck three fours and a six in his 57-ball feat.

After the fall of Akmal, Balochistan kept losing wickets at regular intervals and were folded in 46.2 overs.

Shahid, who was bowled by Aamer Yamin, hammered six fours in his fine 68-ball knock.

International all-rounder Sohail Tanvir (17) hit one six and one four in his 22-ball effort.

Ehsan Adil (2-37), Aamer (2-36), Zulfiqar (2-42) and Shoaib (2-32) bowled well.

After a careful start, Punjab lost Salman Butt, caught by Umar Gul off his own bowling when the left-hander failed to steer a cutter towards the on side.

Salman, who is under scanner ahead of Pakistan’s tour of England this summer, struck one four in his 26-ball nine runs.

Leg-spinner Usama Mir added to the misery of Punjab when he held Shan Masood (18) off his own bowling as the left-hander failed to negotiate a full toss well. Punjab were 38-2 in the 15th over.

Shan struck one four from 40 balls. Mohammad Rizwan and Asad Shafiq consolidated the innings. It was Azhar who gave a vital breakthrough to his side when he picked the prized scalp of Asad, who was stumped by Mohammad Hasan for 33. Asad clobbered one four and a six from 57 balls. Punjab were 98-3 in the 28th over. In his next over, Azhar had Rizwan (39) adjudged lbw to leave Punjab reeling at 105-4. Rizwan struck five fours from 52 balls. Umar Gul, brought in for his second spell, had Akbar-ur-Rehman (8) caught by keeper Hasan.

In the next over, Azhar reduced Punjab’s fight-back chances when he bowled Shoaib Malik (2), leaving Punjab gasping at 115-6 in 31.3 overs.

Mohammad Nawaz dislodged Aamer Yamin (7), caught nicely at long-on by Usama Mir.

Rookie Saif Badar showed some spark with the bat, hammering 21 off 17 balls in which he hit one six and two fours. Punjab were 151-8 at that stage.

Amad Butt (33*) and Zulfiqar Babar (14) took their team to a winning position by adding 46 for the ninth wicket but Junaid Khan bowled the latter to leave Punjab at 197-9 in 47.2 overs.

Gul had last man Ehsan Adil (3) to complete a well-deserved win for his side.

Amad struck three fours from 49 balls.

Junaid got 2-28 in nine overs.

Ahsan Reza and Khalid Mehmood Senior supervised the match. Asif Yaqoob acted as television umpire and Ghaffar Kazmi as reserve umpire. Musaddiq Rasool was the match referee.

On Wednesday (today), Younis Khan-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa face Misbah-ul-Haq-led Islamabad.

The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan and PCB executive committee chairman Najam Sethi graced the opening ceremony.

Shaharyar said that the event would act as trials for the players for Pakistan’s series against England, West Indies and Australia.

“We should forget bad days and move forward,” the chairman said.

Najam Sethi said that for the first time the captains of the five teams were authorised to pick their players. “Neither the PCB nor regions had any hand in the selection. And the captains would be questioned if their teams did not click. But there is a firm conviction that all five teams have been picked on merit and we hope for a tough contest for the title,” Sethi said.

Score Board

Punjab won toss


*Azhar Ali c Rizwan b Aamer Yamin 3

Babar Azam c  Malik b Amad Butt   41

†Mohammad Hasan c & b Zulfiqar   21

Umar Akmal b Shoaib Malik  47

Shahid Yousuf b Aamer Yamin        49

Mohammad Nawaz lbw b Malik       2

Ghulam Haider b Ehsan Adil  2

Sohail Tanvir b Zulfiqar Babar        17

Usama Mir c Ehsan Adil b Amad Butt         4

Umar Gul b Ehsan Adil         8

Junaid Khan not out   6

Extras (lb 2, w 8, nb 5)       15

Total   215

Fall: 1-3, 2-50, 3-84, 4-149, 5-157, 6-160, 7-192, 8-200, 9-202, 10-215

Bowling: Ehsan 9-0-37-2 (1w); Yamin 10-1-36-2 (1w); Zulfiqar 10-0-42-2 (1nb, 2w); Amad 6-1-30-2 (4nb); Saif 3-0-2-0; Malik 5-0-32-2; Akbar 3-0-16-0


Salman Butt c & b Umar Gul 9

Shan Masood c & b Usama Mir        18

Asad Shafiq st Hasan b Azhar Ali     33

†Mohammad Rizwan lbw b Azhar Ali          39

Akbar-ur-Rehman c Hasan b Umar Gul      8

*Shoaib Malik b Azhar Ali     2

Saif Badar b Junaid Khan     21

Aamer Yamin c Usama Mir b Nawaz 7

Amad Butt not out    33

Zulfiqar Babar b Junaid Khan          14

Ehsan Adil c Usama Mir b Umar Gul 3

Extras (lb 6, w 10)    16

Total   203

Fall: 1-21, 2-38, 3-98, 4-105, 5-113, 6-115, 7-135, 8-151, 9-197, 10-203

Bowling: Tanvir 10-0-24-0 (1w); Junaid 9-0-28-2; Gul 10-1-43-3 (4w); Usama 6-0-31-1 (1w); Nawaz 9-1-47-1 (1w); Azhar 5-0-24-3

Result: Balochistan won by 12 runs

Man of the Match: Azhar Ali (Balochistan)

Umpires: Ahsan Raza and Khalid Mahmood; TV umpire: Asif Yaqoob; Match referee: Mussadaq Rasool.

(Source: The News)

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