MULTAN: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa faced their first loss of the National T20 Cup 2022-23 as Central Punjab successfully defended 194-run target at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Sunday. This was Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s first defeat after five consecutive wins. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the winners of the 2020 and 2021 editions, are defending their throne. Southern Punjab began the Multan leg of the tournament with a win. They defeated Balochistan by 20 runs (DLS method) as a dust storm at the completion of the sixth over of the run chase ended the match. Faizan and Tayyab’s 98-run partnership shocks Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: It was a brilliant second wicket 98-run partnership between opener Mohammad Faizan and one-drop Tayyab Tahir that set the platform for Central Punjab’s towering 193 all out —- the last wicket falling on the last ball – and an eventual 25-run victory. This was Central Punjab’s only second win of the tournament. Central Punjab were dealt a blow early with the dismissal of Muhammad Akhlaq on the fourth ball, but Faizan and Tayyab, who scored his fourth fifty of the tournament, put a strong counterattack, pushing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s bowlers on the backfoot. Faizan scored at a blistering rate of 200 —- his 72 off 36 including seven sixes and four fours. Tayyab smashed 75 in 48 (eight fours and four sixes) before he was run out. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s run chase derailed after a promising start with the dismissal of Mohammad Haris (14 off 15). His fellow opener Sahibzada Farhan top-scored with 31-ball 47 and was removed in the 11th over with the scorecard reading 77 for three. Mohammad Sarwar Afridi and Khalid Usman, the side’s captain, put a fight in the middle order scoring 28 off 14 and 24 off 16, but that did not prove to be enough for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Hunain Shah, brother of fearsome fast bowler Naseem Shah, accounted for Sarwar and Maaz, returning two for 28 in his T20 debut. Aamer Yamin and Ali Asfand also took two wickets, as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were restricted to 168 for nine. Southern Punjab bowlers outplay Balochistan batters: Balochistan were all out – albeit on the last ball of the innings – for 144. Ali Majid took three wickets for 27, Mohammad Ilyas returned two for 19, captain Salman Ali Agha took two wickets for 26 runs and Muhammad Imran picked up his two wickets for 23 runs. With 27 each, Asad Shafiq and Kashif Bhatti top-scored for Balochistan, while other batters struggled. Southern Punjab’s run chase was off to a perfect start with Umar Siddiq (32 not out off 20) and Zain Abbas (21 not out off 16) adding 54 runs at the completion of powerplay. When the dust storm set in, Southern Punjab were 20 runs ahead of Balochistan and were declared winners. Brief scores: 1: Central Punjab beat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by 25 runs Central Punjab 193 all out, 20 overs (Tayyab Tahir 75, Mohammad Faizan 72; Maaz Khan 4-46, Mohammad Imran 3-30) vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 168-9, 20 overs (Sahibzada Farhan 47, Mohammad Sarwar Afridi 28, Khalid Usman 24; Ali Asfand 2-14, Hunain Shah 2-28, Aamer Yamin 2-46) Player of the Match — Mohammad Faizan (Central Punjab) 2: Southern Punjab beat Balochistan by 20 runs (DLS method) Balochistan 144 all out, 20 overs (Kashif Bhatti 27 not out, Asad Shafiq 27, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai 25; Ali Majid 3-27, Mohammad Ilyas 2-19, Muhammad Imran 2-23, Salman Ali Agha 2-26) vs Southern Punjab 54-0, 6 overs (Umar Siddiq 32 not out, Zain Abbas 21 not out) Player of the match — Ali Majid (Southern Punjab).