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Haider Ali, Zeeshan Malik combine to lead massive rout in season opener
Match Report

Haider Ali, Zeeshan Malik combine to lead massive rout in season opener

Haider Ali and Zeeshan Malik headlined Northern's merciless thumping of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as the duo was involved in a record second-wicket partnership.

Haider posted his career-best score of 90 while Zeeshan smashed 77 to help defending champions Northern amass a gargantuan total of 242-3 in their 20 overs.

The two joined in the middle after the early loss of Ali Imran off the bowling of Shaheen Afridi in the third over of the innings.

Haider and Zeeshan soon began hammering the bowlers all around the park in their blistering strokeplay as they surpassed the previous record of 164 runs for the second wicket set by Yasir Hameed and Younis Khan in 2014.

Haider's blazing innings was glittered by five maximums and seven boundaries as he was not afraid to take the aerial route.

KP's efforts at uncoupling the duo were all invalidated in the face of a supremely aggressive batting exhibition.

The breakthrough finally arrived in the 18th over for KP as Junaid Khan provided them with some relief by snaffling the scalp of Haider.

Haider was applauded for his ravishing knock by his teammates in the dugout, who greeted his departure with a standing ovation.

“It is always a great feeling to start off a tournament on a high and this innings has provided me a lot of confidence. Though I am a little disappointed on missing out what would have been my maiden century in T20 cricket, I thoroughly enjoyed the partnership with Zeeshan Malik," the 19-year-old said after the match.

Haider and Zeeshan's wickets in the space of five deliveries did little to halt the dominant charge as Asif Ali carried on the momentum and struck three fours and a six in his stormy 10-ball cameo fetching 23 runs.

All of KP's bowlers seemed to be badly out of rhythm with Wahab Riaz enduring a torrid time in the field as he conceded 51 runs in three overs.

KP's pursuit of the daunting target was hindered by the loss of wickets at frequent intervals as they stumbled despite the presence of international bigwigs.

Sahibzada Farhan and Shoaib Malik's partnership, in retrospect, sucked the impetus out of KP's innings with the duo adding only 40 runs in 38 deliveries.

Farhan tried to accelerate towards the end of the innings with a couple of meaty slogs but by then, the match was far beyond KP's grasp.

Musa Khan was the most prolific out of the Northern's bowlers, finishing with figures of three for 31.