Lahore   -    Northern recorded their first win of the Kingdom Valley National T20 Cup 2022-23 – thanks to Ali Imran’s superb half-century. They defeated Central Punjab by three runs at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in a rain-reduced match on Sunday.

In the second match of the day, Adil Amin’s quickfire 40 not out helped Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to third consecutive win as they defeated Sindh by six wickets. Tayyab Tahir’s third half-century of the tournament – the most for any batter – went in vain as Central Punjab lost to Northern by three runs.

The Central Punjab opener scored 53 off 39 (six fours and a six) and stitched a crucial 82-run second wicket partnership with Abdullah Shafiq (33 off 23, five fours) in a contest curtailed to 16 overs because of rain.

Northern’s Ali Imran – later named player of the match – smashed 56 at a strike rate of over 164 after Central Punjab captain Qasim Akram elected to bowl. Ali struck three sixes and as many fours in his 34-ball knock before he was dismissed by Mohammad Ali – who returned three for 33 – in the penultimate over.

He added 39 runs with opener Hasan Nawaz (24 off 23) and 47 with Mubasir Khan (18 off 17) in what was an extraordinary rearguard after Northern were reduced to 10 for two in nine balls. Sohail Tanvir made his experience count down the order spanking 20 runs off eight deliveries (two fours and a six).

It was Adil Amin’s sparkling 40 n0t out off 24 that helped Khyber Pakhtunkhwa surmount 152-run target with eight balls spare. Player of the match Adil smashed three four and two sixes as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa crossed the line with six wickets in hand.

Adil was provided a solid platform for the run chase by openers Sahibzada Farhan (45 off 34) and Mohammad Haris (37 off 29) as they added 82 for the first wicket. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had a scare in the 11th over when both were dismissed by leg-spinner Zahid Mehmood.

Sind’s Saad Khan top-scored with 40 off 36 and wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed made 27 not out off 24 after captain Saud Shakeel elected to bat. The other notable batters in Sindh’s innings were opener Saim Ayub (23 off 20), Saud (20 off 15) and Danish Aziz (21 not ouf off 15).