Central Pakistan defeated Northern Pakistan by 8 wickets in the first round of the National T20 Cup thanks to the brilliant bowling of Faheem Ashraf and responsible batting of Babar Azam.
In the match played in Rawalpindi, Northern won the toss and elected to bat first but the early batsmen failed and both the openers were dismissed for zero and 9 runs respectively.
Sohail Akhtar became the first victim of Faheem Ashraf and returned to the pavilion after scoring 17 runs after which Zeeshan Malik and Rohail Nazir were also dismissed. Shadab Khan and Asif Ali put on an excellent partnership for the fifth wicket to take the score to 139 runs.
Asif Ali was the top scorer with 67 runs, Shadab Khan’s inning consisted of 39 runs while returning captain Emad Wasim was dismissed for zero and Hamad Azam scored 7 runs.
Northern Pakistan scored 165 for 9 in the allotted overs.
Faheem Ashraf bowled brilliantly and took the most 4 wickets, Ehsan Adil and Usman Qadir took 2 wickets each.
Central Punjab had won only one match in the first phase, but the return of national T20 team captain Babar Azam looked strong and a 54-run partnership was established for the first wicket.
Kamran Akmal played a 21-run inning after a good partnership with Babar Azam, after which the successful batsman of the tournament, Abdullah Shafiq, was dismissed for 3 runs.
Central Punjab captain and Faheem Ashraf scored 167 runs for the third wicket and achieved the second victory.
Babar Azam scored 86 off 52 balls with the help of 11 fours and 2 sixes and Faheem Ashraf scored 52 runs and both the batsmen remained unbeaten.
Faheem Ashraf was declared the best player of the match for his brilliant all-round performance.
The second match was played between Sindh and Southern Punjab in Rawalpindi and brilliant batting was done.
Zeeshan Masood won the toss and invited Sindh to bat first.
Khurram Manzoor and Sharjeel Khan started with 47 runs after which Asad Shafiq and Khurram shared a long partnership for the second wicket.
Sharjeel Khan was the first batsman to be dismissed for 11, but Khurram Manzoor and Asad Shafiq completed their half-centuries in partnership.
Asad Shafiq played an innings of 59 runs with the help of 6 fours and 2 sixes to take the score to 170 in the 17th over.
Khurram Manzoor was Sindh’s last batsman to be dismissed who played an individual inning of 108 off 58 balls with the help of 10 fours and 6 sixes.
Khurram Manzoor became the second batsman to score a century in the National T20 Cup.
Sindh scored 216 runs for the loss of 3 wickets in 20 overs.
Muhammad Ilyas of Southern Punjab took 2 wickets.
In chase of a difficult target, both the openers of Southern Punjab were bowled out for 19, including 12 by Shan Masood and 4 by Zeeshan Ashraf.
Omar Siddique scored 13 runs and Sohaib Maqsood was dismissed for 2 runs while Southern Punjab scored 43 runs.
Khush Dil Shah and Hussain Talat supported the troubled Southern Punjab team and Khush Dil completed their half-century by playing aggressively.