Central Punjab win thriller to cement their place in semi-final 

National T20 Cup 2021 saw another thriller of the day, as Central Punjab registered a thrilling three-wicket win to book their semi-final spot as Balochistan were knocked out of the National T20 tournament. 

After being put in to bat first, Balochistan opener Abdullah Shafique once again displayed his impressive T20 batting prowess with his second successive half-century. The right-hander looked in sublime touch as he posted his fourth T20 50. Abdullah top-scored for Balochistan with 60 off 42 balls. Abdullah Shafique and Amad Butt, the two added 46 runs for the sixth-wicket.

Amad hit an entertaining 43 off 27 balls, the all-rounder remained unbeaten. Amad added 40 runs for the seventh-wicket with Umaid Asif who hit two sixes in his 15 off five balls.

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In reply, Central Punjab wobbled in the chase in the middle overs and had stumbled 98 for five at one stage. Faheem Ashraf recovered the chase with a quick-fire 27 off 15 balls. He hit one four and three sixes before Wahab and Qasim combined to take their side past the target.

Wahab 28 off 9 balls with four sixes and Qasim Akram 13 off 5 balls with one four and one six. They both added 38 runs off 14 balls for the unbroken eight-wicket stand. The platform for the chase was laid with a 48-run stand between wicketkeeper Muhammad Akhlaq 32 and Hussain Talat (20).

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Central Punjab joined Northern in the semi-finals while their victory also ensured semi-final qualification for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. Central Punjab and Northern have 12 points while KP and Sindh are on 10 points.

Brief Scorecard:

Balochistan 162 for 7 in 20 overs (Abdullah Shafique 60, Amad Butt 43 not out; Sameen Gul 3/20, Mohammad Faizan 2/30)

Central Punjab 182 for 6 in 20 overs (Muhammad Akhlaq 32, Wahab Riaz 28*, Faheem Ashraf 27; Haris Sohail 2/21)

Player of the match:  Sameen Gul (Central Punjab) 

Result: Central Punjab win by three wickets

The writer is a Sports Blogger from Pakistan, also working as an Editor at homeoft20. Apart from homeoft20, he writes on various other platforms. Hamadullah Sohu can be reached at @cricsohu and engr.hamad58@hotmail.com

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