We saw two quite contrasting matches yesterday. Northern brushed aside Central Punjab with ease following a complete team performance. In the 2nd match of the day, KPK scraped past an inspired South Punjab. While Northern remains dominant, KPK despite all their strength on paper, have started to look vulnerable.
Northern’s Team Performance
Given how condensed T20s are and the matchups captains can create, power-play overs remain of supreme importance. However, yesterday Northern showed that you can win the match even if you do poorly in the batting power play. In fact, till the 10th over, the defending champions were tottering at 40 odd runs. Ali Imran, Zeeshan Malik and Haider Ali dug a bit of hole for the team to climb out off.
Well, the middle to lower-middle order responded beautifully. Shadab Khan, Umer Amin, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, and Rohail Nazir all played selfless cameos and took the score to 155. Usman Qadir with his bag of tricks was impressive. However, the bowling of Northern also attacked in pairs with wickets going to Mohammad Musa, Haris Rauf, and captain Shadab Khan. A true all-round performance by the captain and his team.
Senior players steal the limelight in more ways than one
After a modest HBLPSL last year, Sahibzada Farhan would have earmarked the National T20 Cup as a step to kick start his career again. He was off to a decent start with 62 of 48 in the 1st match of the tournament. Time to build on it, right?
Wrong! Captain Mohammad Rizwan decided to jump up the order and open and Farhan hasn’t had an opportunity to bat in the last two matches. Not that Rizwan is doing baldly and in today’s case Hafeez and Iftikhar also made their presence felt. It’s just a sad reflection on this “six” team strategy that KP’s batting line up barring Babar is Pakistan’s batting line up. How detrimental it is for young players coming through, time will tell it quietly.
Anyhow, the man wonder himself Sohaib Maqsood stuck a vicious 77 to take Southern Punjab close. Hussain Talat and Saif Badar also chipped in. Nonetheless, Junaid Khan’s 3 wickets and Wahab applying breaks, ended SP’s chances despite somehow Hafeez bowling the last over.