Lahore: Central Punjab produced a commanding performance to book their spot in the National T20 Cup final with a one-sided seven-wicket victory over Sindh in the second semi-final at the Gaddafi Stadium.
Central Punjab will take on defending champions Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in their first National T20 final since the tournament was revamped as a six-team competition in the 2019-20 season.
Seasoned campaigners Ahmed Shehzad and Kamran Akmal spearheaded the 142-run chase with an almost flawless batting display that left the Sindh bowlers clueless.
Wicketkeeper-batter Kamran registered the 44th T20 half-century of his career while Ahmed fell one short of his 40th T20 fifty. The two added 88 runs for the second-wicket. Kamran who played some typically stylish shots in his innings scored 51 off 36 balls (seven fours, one six) he was dismissed by spinner Abrar Ahmed in the 14th over.
Ahmed was dismissed by Sohail Khan for 49 (46 balls, four fours). The pair of Hussain Talat (13 not out) and Qasim Akram (11 not out) took Central Punjab past the target with 13 balls to spare.
Earlier, Central Punjab’s bowlers were spot on after skipper Wahab Riaz opted to field first. Sindh were restricted to 141/8 courtesy Qasim Akram’s 3/15 and Zafar Gohar’s 2/15. The spinners contained the proceeding in the middle-overs after Sindh had a brilliant start.
Openers Khurram Manzoor and Sharjeel Khan recorded 50-run stand but after that, the wickets fell at regular intervals. Sharjeel scored 19-ball 32 but Khurram couldn’t capitalize on the start and played slowish innings. He made 34 off 40 balls.
Sohail Khan had been promoted up the order to bring some aggressiveness in the middle but the idea couldn’t pay off. He scored 21 off 24 balls.
Rumman Raees and Mir Hamza stretched Sindh to a competitive score with crucial cameos. Rumman scored 7-ball 14 while Hamza made 9-ball 19.
Earlier, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa advanced in the final after beating Northern in the first semi-final.