RAWALPINDI: Some brilliant all-round performance by Imad Wasim Friday helped Northern finish their National T20 Cup league matches on a high note as Northern edged Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) by 11 runs here at the Pindi Stadium.
It all looked easy for KP once Wahab Riaz’s (5-21) magic saw Northern getting restricted to a low 144-9. Then it turned out to be a one-man batting show from KP as Mohammad Haris (79 not out) fought a lone battle, ultimately failing to take his team home.
The way Northern stood up to the task of saving a low reachable total was a remarkable feat. Northern’s attack spearheaded by man-of-the-match Haris Rauf (3-28) bowled to an immaculate line and length to put a tight check on the run flow.
Mohammad Haris did all he could to keep his team in the hunt for a run chase, failing to get any support from the other players. Only Fakhar Zaman (11) reached double figures for KP. Haris’ 70-ball knock was studded with nine fours and one six.
KP required only 38 off the last 4.2 overs when tight field placing and some accurate bowling by Haris Rauf and Amir stole the day for them. KP team was left with 21-run in the last over of Sohail Tanvir (1-25), a target which was never easy with only tail there for the support of Mohammad Haris.
Earlier, Wahab exploited Northern top and lower order weakness to the fullest removing Ali Imran (8) on a short pitch delivery, Haider Ali (7), Asif Ali (19), Sohail Tanvir (9) and Haris Rauf (8) to finish with 5-21.
Imad, however, held his nerves and Northern innings with 20-ball 36. He struck four boundaries to Junaid Khan (1-32) in one over. Junaid however later accounted for him. Besides Imad, Umar Amin and Zeeshan Malik scored 21 runs each.
Imad also bowled well and got rid of two important batsmen — KP skipper Mohammad Rizwan (9) and Shoaib Malik (6). Northern finished at the top of the league table with 16 points, losing only two matches out of ten they played.
Scores in brief: Northern 144-9 in 20 overs (Imad Wasim 36, Zeeshan Malik 21, Umar Amin 21; Wahab Riaz 5-21). Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 133-7 in 20 overs (Mohammad Haris 79 not out; Haris Rauf 3-28, Imad Wasim 2-25). Result: Northern won by 11 runs. Man of the Match: Haris Rauf (Northern).