Southern Punjab looked down and out for the most part of their innings following their captain’s decision to bat as they were six down for only 80 in 14 overs before a blistering partnership between player of the match Sharoon Siraj and Mohammad Ilyas turned the game on its head as Southern Punjab set 157 for Balochistan. The two added 76 runs to the team’s total at a rate of more than two runs per ball.
Sharoon scored 57 not out off 49 in which he struck six fours and two sixes. But it was Ilyas’ whirlwind 41 off 17 – in which he smashed four sixes and two fours – that lifted Southern Punjab to 156 for six. Yasir Shah, the Balochistan captain, was economical and made regular inroads, finishing with three for 17. His scalps were Sohaib Maqsood, Moinuddin and Muhammad Imran.
Balochistan’s run chase was off to a flying start with Haseebullah (21 off 22) and Asad Shafiq (43 off 35) adding 57 in 8.2 overs. But, once Salman Ali Agha, the Southern Punjab captain, accounted for Haseebullah in the ninth over, the match started to slip from Balochistan’s grasp.
Young left-arm wrist spinner Faisal Akram sent Asad back to the pavilion in the next over. Salman then accounted for Abdul Wahid Bangalzai and Shan Masood in the 13th over to reduce the batting side to 82 for four. With 30 off 25, Hussain Talat showed some resistance down the order, but pacer Sameen Gul ensured that Balochistan never got back in the game with his dismissals of hard-hitting Amad Butt and Hussain.