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Abdullah Shafique slams stunning ton to help Central Punjab gun down 201
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Abdullah Shafique slams stunning ton to help Central Punjab gun down 201

Abdullah Shafique made his way into the record books after conjuring a masterful century on T20 debut to lead Central Punjab to an astonishing seven-wicket win over Southern Punjab in Multan.

The second match on the opening day of National T20 Cup 2020 proved to be another high-scoring affair but this time, the chasing side prevailed thanks to Shafique's paramount elegance and unflinching aggression.

With a hundred in his very first first-class match to his name already, the 20-year-old from Sialkot made sure to power his team across the finishing line and in the process became only the second player to amass a ton in both four-day and 20-over cricket debut.

It was an innings that exuded sheer class as Shafique unleashed breathtaking strokeplay marked by nifty wristwork and admirable balance at the crease.

His fluent straight drive, in particular, drew accolades from pundits as his relentless boundary spree saw him hammer a total of 11 fours and four maximums in his 58-ball 102.

Shafique entered proceedings with his team two down for just one run on the board as Aamer Yamin scalped Rizwan Hussain and Abid Ali on successive deliveries in the first over.

Undeterred in the face of the setbacks, Shafique joined hands with veteran Kamran Akmal to plunder 146 runs in 77 deliveries to take Central Punjab closer to the mammoth target of 201.

Akmal was also at his belligerent best as he slammed 11 boundaries and two sixes in his supreme contribution of 75 from 41 balls.

Akmal was finally dismissed by Hussain Talat but there was no respite for Southern Punjab's bowlers as Shafique upped the ante and dominated the unbroken partnership with skipper Saad Nasim.

Central Punjab chased down the total in 18.5 overs to get themselves off to a winning start in their quest for the National T20 Cup title.

On a pitch described as a batting paradise amidst shortened boundaries, Central Punjab's Sohaibullah and Usman Qadir were the standout bowlers.

Sohaibullah troubled batsmen with short of a good length and managed to reap rewards for his persistent line by taking three wickets for 26 runs. Meanwhile, Qadir took the crucial scalps of half-centurions Shan Masood and Sohaib Maqsood just at the right time to deprive Southern Punjab of the momentum to reach a more significant total.