LAHORE-A five-wicket haul from Faisal Akram and half-centuries by Arafat Minhas and Azan Awais led Shaheens to an impressive 224-run win over Papua New Guinea at the DXC Arena in Darwin on Tuesday afternoon.
Opting to bat first in the 50-over match, openers Azan and Shamyl Hussain provided a solid 86-run stand for the first wicket. Shamyl was the first batter to return to the pavilion, scoring a run-a-ball 45, which included seven fours. Captain Rohail Nazir (2) soon was sent back to the hut before left-handed Azan was joined by Wahaj Riaz. The pair knitted 57 runs for the third wicket as Wahaj (36) fell to Charles Amini in the 28th over.
Azan (72), the highest run-getter for Shaheens, was next to go with Shaheens 170 for four in 30.4 overs. Shawaiz Irfan, who scored two half-centuries in the Top End T20 Series, went early and could score only 13 off 12 balls. Muhammad Irfan Khan, coming to bat at number five scored 41 off 40 balls, smashing four fours.
That the Shaheens were able to post 323 was largely due to Arafat Minhas’ quick-fire 56 off 34 balls, which included seven fours and one six. Arafat and Ahmed Khan (31, 28b, 2x4s) stitched a 74-run partnership for the seventh wicket. For PNG, Amini was the most successful bowler, taking three wickets for 61.
In reply, PNG batters were never in the hunt to chase the target as they lost wickets at regular intervals and were dismissed for a paltry 99 in 22 overs. Left-arm wrist spinner Faisal bagged five wickets for 17 in five overs, which included 22 dot balls. Fast bowlers Ahmed (6-0-43-3) and Amir Hassan (6-0-24-2) shared five wickets between them.
Shaheens will now take on Northern Territory Strikes tomorrow at the same venue in a day-night contest. The first ball of the 50-over match will be bowled at 1330 local time. This will be Shaheens’ last match in Australia before they head home.