National T20 Cup – Khushdil, Tahir, Zia lead Southern Punjab to second straight win

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Their win over Central Punjab keeps their hopes of qualification still alive

Southern Punjab 157 for 4 (Tayyab Tahir 68, Khushdil 51*) beat Central Punjab 154 for 9 (Hussain Talat 68, Zia-ul-Haq 4-40) by six wickets

Southern Punjab kept their slender hopes of qualification to the knockouts alive with a second successive win, beating table-toppers Central Punjab by six wickets with an over to spare.

Southern Punjab decided to field first after winning the toss, and made early inroads straightaway. Aamer Yamin struck up front to remove Kamran Akmal for a duck, while Naseem Shah dismissed the other opener Mohammad Akhlaq cheaply. Hussain Talat held the innings together with another half-century, his 46-ball 68 the spine of an innings that was falling apart at the other end. Fast bowler Zia-ul-Haq then burst through the lower order, taking four wickets to hobble Central Punjab, who ended up limping to 154.

Waqas Maqsood and Faheem Ashraf struck early to give CP hope but saw it dashed by a 92-run fourth wicket partnership that effectively ended any hopes they harboured of getting one over their derby rivals. Tayyab Tahir and Khushdil Shah, each of whom struck half-centuries, shepherded the chase calmly, never really in danger of letting the run rate climb too high. Tahir fell with just three runs needed to win, but by then he had done enough to ensure a Southern Punjab win.

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