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Imam-ul-Haq 94 guides Balochistan to 16-run triumph over Southern Punjab
Match Report

Imam-ul-Haq 94 guides Balochistan to 16-run triumph over Southern Punjab

Balochistan prevailed in a high-scoring affair courtesy Imam-ul-Haq's batting heroics that set the platform for his team to push towards a daunting total.

Imam slapped 10 boundaries and four sixes in his stupendous knock as he missed out on the elusive three-figure mark by merely six runs.

Imam's 54-ball stay at the crease saw him simultaneously play the anchor role and dish out scintillating strokes to maintain a high run rate.

The elegant left-hander's belligerent innings was particularly adorned by wonderful use of the feet and perfect execution of the pull shot, which proved to be a hugely profitable shot for him.

"The pitch was a bit slow at the start but I decided to spend time on the pitch and that eventually helped me very well. We didn’t have a target in mind as such as we wanted to gauge the conditions, Haris and Bismillah helped me stay at the pitch, we then aimed for 180-190 runs but the late flourish in the innings helped us get past the 200-run mark," he later said.

Imam was involved in a scorching 97-run partnership with skipper Haris Sohail for the third wicket as the latter also posted a thrilling 27-ball 53.

The significant impetus provided by the top-order was built upon superbly by all-rounder Amad Butt, who blasted two sixes and two fours in his whirlwind cameo of 22 from seven deliveries.

None of the Southern Punjab bowlers was effective on the flat surface with Bilawal Bhatti being taken to the cleaners and conceding 61 runs in his four overs.

The home side's chase of 231 was troubled initially with the loss of two early wickets in Zeeshan Ashraf and Sohaib Maqsood's collective failures.

Southern Punjab then rode on the back of an exquisite exhibition of power-hitting from Khushdil Shah and flawless strokemaking from Shan Masood to revive their chase.

The duo battled hard with their 103-run alliance with both batsmen contributing with 72 runs each. However, once the two were uncoupled, Southern Punjab's journey fell apart dramatically.

Akif Javed turned out to be the chief protagonist in Balochistan's bowling performance as he removed Masood and Khushdil to suck out the luckless opposition's momentum.