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Southern Punjab pull off stunning 162-run chase in 10.4 overs to qualify for semis
Match Report

Southern Punjab pull off stunning 162-run chase in 10.4 overs to qualify for semis

A boundary-laden barrage unleashed by Sohaib Maqsood inspired Southern Punjab to do the unthinkable as they gunned down the 162-run target in 10.4 overs to secure a semi-final berth in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Plagued with issues of an inferior net run rate, Southern Punjab faced the stiff task of completing their run-chase inside 12.3 overs in order to displace Central Punjab in the fourth position and book a spot in the knockouts.

To meet the challenging requirements, the in-form Maqsood was promoted up the order to open alongside wicketkeeper Zeeshan Ashraf.

As fate would have it, the belligerent right-handed batsman was dropped in the first over and made full use of the reprieve to plunder 81 runs off just 29 deliveries.

Utilising the fielding restrictions in the Powerplay, Maqsood first hammered 20 runs off Taj Wali's first over with blazing strokeplay that pierced the gaps with impeccable precision.

Umar Gul was then subjected to Maqsood's flawless striking as the 33-year-old batted without fear to swat ferocious boundaries and deposit the ball deep into the empty stands.

Maqsood toyed with Gul's bowling to feast 21 runs from his over, which incidentally turned out to be the last over delivered by the pace icon in his competitive career.

Having raced to 65 in four overs, Balochistan skipper Haris Sohail opted to introduce spinner Yasir Shah into the attack but he too was taken to the cleaners as Maqsood shellacked him for four luscious boundaries.

In the final over of the Powerplay, Ashraf was dismissed while trying to slog Amad Butt, though this did not stop Maqsood from reining in his aggression as he proceeded to smack the pacer for three successive boundaries.

Maqsood's breathtaking assault was eventually undone by Wali after the star batter appeared visibly uncomfortable and clutching his neck in discomfort.

The opener's departure was followed by the wicket of Khushdil Shah as well as Balochistan tried to stymie Southern Punjab's scorching charge.

All of their attempts at weathering the storm were rendered worthless as Aamer Yamin and Hussain Talat picked up where Maqsood left off.

Aamer smoked four sixes in his breezy nine-ball cameo with the last of his hits fittingly allowing Southern Punjab to romp to victory at a canter.

The insane 15.56 run rate maintained by SP during their six-hitting rampage was in sharp contrast to the mood of the first innings where Balochistan failed to get an impetus to reach a mammoth total.

Imam-ul-Haq and Bismillah Khan stitched a 69-run stand for the second wicket after Awais Zia's early demise but none of the two batsmen looked confident of taking risks to up the ante.

Muhammad Ilyas was the most economical bowler for Southern Punjab as his brisk pace kept the batsmen on their toes and wary of employing big shots off his bowling.

Following a winless Multan leg, it has been a remarkable rise for Shan Masood's men. They now have a quick turnaround as they will clash against table-toppers Northern for the first semi-final tomorrow in Rawalpindi.