National T20 Cup – Shan Masood, bowlers power Southern Punjab to final

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    Southern Punjab beat Northern by seven wickets

    Southern Punjab followed up their sensational win against Balochistan with a thumping win over defending champions Northern to stride into the Natioanl T20 Cup final.

    Chasing 161, one fewer than they did with 56 balls to spare in their last game, Shan Masood‘s side was much more businesslike, the captain top-scoring with an unbeaten 78 in 58 balls and knocking off the winning runs with eight balls and seven wickets to spare. Masood and Zeeshan Ashraf – whose swashbuckling 55 off 32 kept the asking rate down – shared a 91-run opening partnership, which broke the back of the chase. From thereon, it was something of a procession, with the final single coming from a dab down to third man.

    The usually free-scoring Northern were kept on a leash by the rejuvenated Southern Punjab bowling attack, who, after conceding 200-plus in seven of their first eight games, have kept sides below 165 in the preceding three. That was possible thanks to a disciplined start by Aamer Yamin and the ever-reliable Mohammad Abbas. Though Ali Imran scored a half-century, there was no real support for him from the other end. Zahid Mahmood removed three big-hitters in Haider Ali, Asif Ali and Imad Wasim, and only a late flurry from Shadab Khan, who smashed an unbeaten 48 off 27, took Northern past 160. But against a batting line-up as high on confidence as Southern Punjab, it proved something of a cakewalk.



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