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Babar Azam smashes third successive fifty as Central Punjab storm to nine-wicket triumph
Match Report

Babar Azam smashes third successive fifty as Central Punjab storm to nine-wicket triumph

Babar Azam steered his side to victory over Balochistan in a heavily lopsided contest after the Central Punjab bowlers wrecked the opposition's batting line-up.

Balochistan could muster only 125-8 in their 20 overs following a spate of early blows as Babar's classy strokeplay ensured the paltry target proved to be a cakewalk for his team.

The world No. 1 T20I batsman's dream run in the tournament has injected newfound balance in the Central Punjab unit, who had claimed only a single win from five matches before Babar's arrival.

With identical scores of 86 in the previous two outings, Babar extended his purple patch with an unbeaten 64 off 40 deliveries.

Babar displayed phenomenal wristwork and unadulterated elegance in his fluent shots that frequently resulted in boundaries.

His sublime effort was exemplified by mere punches off the backfoot and extension of the arms while leaning into the drives to caress the ball towards the boundary fence.

He struck a total of nine fours and two maximums in his glorious knock and safely guarded his team against the prospect of any sort of blip in their flawless chase.

After a belligerent opening stand with Kamran Akmal, Babar and Abdullah Shafique picked up the pace to register Central Punjab's commandeering triumph with 6.2 overs to spare.

The toothless Balochistan bowling attack could only remove Akmal, who edged one behind to Bismillah Khan off Amad Butt.

In the first innings, Balochistan were stunned by a nightmare start marked by the loss of leading run-getter in the competition Imam-ul-Haq early in the piece.

The in-form left-handed batsman was undone by a Qasim Akram delivery that he inadvertently ended up guiding towards his off pole.

Qasim struck on the very next ball when young Abdul Wahid Bangalzai aimlessly strolled down the pitch to completely miss the ball and watch Akmal whip the bails off.

Skipper Haris Sohail tried to firmly hold one end and power his team to a respectable total but medium-pacer Ahmed Bashir caused destruction by scything through the Balochistan middle-order cheaply.

Haris was dismissed for 41 in the death overs trying to up the ante with a massive swipe and his untimely wicket deprived his side the impetus to finish the innings with a flourish.