Umar Amin, allrounders star as Northern power through to title

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A half-century from Umar Amin and a frugal bowling display saw Northern thump Balochistan in the National T20 Cup final in Faisalabad. These two sides had finished top two in the group stage, with Northern edging Balochistan in the standings. It was much the same today, except Northern didn’t edge it so much as romp home, such was their domination from the moment they set Balochistan 168 to win.

That said, it wasn’t always clear Northern would go on to pose as steep a total as that, particularly when they slumped to 109 for 5 with five overs to go. A splendid 38-ball 60 from Umar had done much of the heavy lifting in getting them there but not out of the woods yet. Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz combined for 58 off the last 32 balls, each unbeaten by the end, to put their side on course. It was Umar Gul who bore the brunt of the onslaught, conceding 45 runs in his allotted four, but in truth, Balochistan simply weren’t as tight as their counterparts would be in the second innings. Only Amad Butt, who registered figures of 4-0-19-2, seriously halted Northern’s charge.

Balochistan’s chase stalled before it had even begun thanks to two wicket for Sohail Tanvir in the third over, putting paid to both skipper Imam-ul-Haq and Bismillah Khan. That left the veteran Imran Farhat alongside Awais Zia to stabilise the innings, and though their 44-run partnership did that, the asking rate continued to climb.

A lack of power hitters in the Balochistan line-up meant getting that down was always going to be a tough ask, and with Imad Wasim and Nawaz habitually stingy in the middle overs, the wheels began to come off. Shadab, too, put in a much improved performance that may bode well for his international prospects in Australia, conceding just 23 runs in his four while removing Haris Sohail and Imran Farhat.

Northern would continue to puncture Balochistan’s chances with routine wickets, with no one looking like they might hold up one end and drag their side closer to the finish line. Amad Butt struck an enormous six, but it was very much out of keeping with how his side were progressing. Northern’s bowlers were canny enough to bamboozle a long-ish tail, and Balochistan would lose their last four wickets for 12 runs. They were bowled out 11 balls short of the full quota as the game, and Balochistan’s campaign, whimpered to an uninspiring finish.

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