LAHORE   -  Sindh registered their second consecutive vic­tory in the Kingdom Valley National T20 Cup 2022-23 when they beat Southern Punjab by 10 runs, thanks to Saim Ayub’s brilliant 92, at the Pindi Cricket Stadium. 

According to information made available here on Wednesday, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa began their title defence with an 18-run win over Central Punjab. This was Central Punjab’s second close defeat in as many days. A spar­kling 92 by Saim and Mir Hamza’s scorching opening spell orchestrated Sindh’s win. Saim smashed 7 sixes and 6 fours to set a demand­ing 191-run target for Northern. The opener added 39 and an innings-defining 85 with Omair Bin Yousuf (18 off 15) and Saud Shakeel (20 off 18) respectively, playing the lead role in both stands. Sohail Tanvir was Northern’s pick of the bowlers with 3-28.

Left-arm pacer Mir Hamza provided Sindh a solid start by removing both Northern open­ers – Hasan Nawaz and Ali Imran – in back-to-back overs. As Nasir Nawaz (39 off 21) and Zeeshan Malik (29 off 31) were on course to stage a recovery, Zahid Mehmood bowled the former. all-rounder Mubasir Khan and Sohail gave Northern fans a glimpse of hope. Mubasir scored 33 off 25 (4 fours and a six) and Sohail made 21 off 14 (2 sixes) before he became Hamza’s third wicket. Hamza returned 3-33 and Sohail Khan picked up 2-38.

Central Punjab’s Tayyab Tahir’s second con­secutive fifty went in vain as Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa began their title defence with an 18-run win in the second match of the day. 

Right-handed Tayyab scored 72 off 45 in his side’s unsuccessful pursuit of 166. It was the 57-run stand for the third wicket with Qasim Akram that gave Central Punjab a chance at the target, but it ended in the 12th over. Fol­lowing the dismissal, Tayyab never got a reli­able partner at the other end as KP bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals; player of the match Imran Khan Sr returned 4-27, M Imran 2-19 and Asif Afridi 2-24. With Faheem Ashraf injured, Central Punjab’s innings ended with five balls spare for 147. KP made 165-6 with Kamran Ghulam hitting 39.