Haider Ali’s stellar form and 90-run-innings helped defending T20 champions Northern to a 71 run win over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the opening feature of the T20 tournament.
Northern scored 242-3 in 20 overs with Haider Ali’s 90 followed by a daring 77 runs from Zeeshan. In addition, Asif Ali scored 23 not out, Ali Imran 21 whereas Junaid Khan shined as the bowler for the side taking two wickets for 44 runs.
Meanwhile, the opposing team Khyber Pakhtunkhwa scored 163-9 in 20 overs with Sahibzada Farhan emerging as the top scorer with 62 runs, Iftikhar Ahmed 28, Shoaib Malik 20. In the bowling department, Mohammad Musa Khan took three wickets after giving away 31 runs, whereas Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Nawaz each took two wickets.
The match, played at the newly-refurbished Multan Cricket Stadium helped Zeeshan and Haider put a record second-wicket partnership of 180 runs off just 90 balls. The duo took advantage of the weak bowling performance from the KP side and extremely poor fielding.
Ali was also awarded as the man of the match for his dazzling knock. Speaking at the post-match press conference, Ali said that he was disappointed for not scoring a century as he was only short by 10 runs. However, he also praised Zeeshan Malik for his excellent batting performance who he said continuously gave him advice throughout the match.
Haider has been lauded as one of the rising talents in Pakistan cricket for his exceptional batting performance. Ali shined during the tour against England where he became the first Pakistani to score a half century on his international debut. He scored 54 runs at Old Trafford.
KP’s side includes star players like Sahibzada Farhan, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan (captain and wicketkeeper), Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Mohsin, Wahab Riaz, Usman Shinwari, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Junaid Khan (vice-captain). Meanwhile, the Northern players include Zeeshan Malik, Ali Imran, Haider Ali, Shadab Khan (captain), Asif Ali, Umar Amin, Rohail Nazir (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Nawaz, Sohail Tanvir, Musa Khan, Haris Rauf.