Balochistan wins the opening game of Pakistan Cup
Punjab and Balochistan played the opening match of the first ever Pakistan Cup. Balochistan batted first and posted a total of 215, Punjab could only post 203 runs before they were bowled out in the 49th over.
Shoaib Malik won the toss for Punjab and elected to bowl first. Balochistan skipper, Azhar Ali fell early in the piece after scoring just 3 runs. However, the middle order stepped up and took Balochistan to a competitive total on a tricky slow wicket.
Young talented Babar Azam played a steady innings of 41 runs off 57 deliveries. The experienced duo of Balochistan, Umar Akmal (47) and Shahid Yousuf (49) contributed 65 runs together. Punjab bowlers performed well in the match and bowled out the opposition in the 46.2 overs.
Five of the Punjab bowlers took two wickets apiece, but, the young allrounder, Aamer Yamin was the pick of the bowler with 2 wickets, conceding just 36 runs in his 10 overs.
Salman Butt came out with Shaan Masood to open for Punjab. All eyes were on Butt, as it was his first televised game after his comeback and he is nearing a recall from the national side, however, he was unable to put an impressive show and was out on 9 runs off 26 deliveries.
Punjab slowly started off their innings after losing both openers at a score of 38 runs in 14.5 overs. Asad Shafiq (33) and Mohammad Rizwan (39) tried to rebuild the innings and had a partnership of 60 runs.
Punjab kept losing wickets on regular intervals and it seemed like a one-sided contest when Balochistan took 8th wicket of Punjab at a score of 151 runs. But, Ammad Butt and Zulfiqar Babar had a handy partnership of 46 runs that made the game interesting. Babar fell after scoring 14 runs on a total of 197.
Umar Gul removed the last man, Ehsan Adil to register the first win for Balochistan. Mohammad Rizwan remained the best batsman for Punjab with a score of 39 runs, whereas, Gul and Azhar Ali shined with the ball taking 3 wickets each. Azhar Ali was named the Man of the Match for his bowling figures of 5 overs, 24 runs and 3 wickets.