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Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Central Punjab to secure semi-final spot

FAISALABAD: Blistering knocks by Fakhar Zaman and Khushdil Shah helped Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Central Punjab by seven wickets and bag a semi-final berth in the ongoing National T20 Cup at Iqbal Stadium Faisalabad on Tuesday. Fakhar and Khushdil put up unbeaten scores of 82 and 46 – at strike rates of 152 and 177 respectively – to help their side chase down the 178-run target with three balls spare. The defeat knocked Central Punjab out of the tournament. Fakhar cracked seven fours and two sixes and crafted a 45-run stand with Sahibzada Farhan (17 off 15) for the first-wicket and a 62-run stand for the third-wicket with Iftikhar Ahmed (19 off 20). But, it was Khushdil’s 46 not out off 26 balls, studded with three fours and three sixes, which settled the match for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who needed 68 off 42 when the 24-year-old took the crease. For his batting exploits, Khushdil was named man-of-the-match. Zafar Gohar, Naseem Shah and Usman Qadir picked a wicket each during the run chase.

Earlier, Central Punjab scored 177 for three in 20 overs after they were asked to bat. Their captain Babar Azam starred with 83 runs from 56 balls, hitting five fours and four sixes. Umar Akmal hit an unbeaten 37-ball 53, which had two fours and four sixes. The pair of Babar and Umar crafted a 111-run stand for third-wicket, which came to an end with the run out of the former. For Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Irfanullah Shah and Mohammad Mohsin took a wicket each in four overs for 22 and 33 runs, respectively.

Scores in brief:

Central Punjab 177-3, 20 overs (Babar Azam 83, Umar Akmal 53) VS Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 182-3, 19.4 overs (Fakhar Zaman 82, Khushdil Shah 46).

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