KARACHI: Umar Amin’s excellent 156 went in vain as Balochistan overwhelmed Punjab by four wickets thanks to international Aamer Yamin’s all-round performance in their day-night opener of the Pakistan Cup 2017 National One-day Cricket Championship at Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi, on Sunday.
Yamin took 5-77 in 9.4 overs to enable Balochistan to dismiss Punjab for 275 in 48.5 overs.
Yamin then struck 56 not out to help Balochistan chase the target with seven balls to spare after losing six wickets.
Chasing a stiff target, skipper Fakhar Zaman (62) and rookie Sahibzada Farhan (53) provided a solid 88-run opening stand to Balochistan off 90 balls.
Off-spinner Bilal Asif gave the much-needed breakthrough when he caught 21-year-old Farhan off his own bowling.
Charsadda-born Farhan struck seven fours and two sixes in his 56-ball fifty.
Young spinner Arsal Sheikh got rid of stumper Bismillah Khan (12) and Fakhar in quick succession to leave Balochistan struggling at 135-3.
The left-handed Fakhar smashed six fours and one six from 60 balls.
International all-rounder Hammad Azam took the key wicket of Sohaib Maqsood (6) to put Punjab in the driving seat.
Saad Ali (27) and Rameez Aziz (33) scored 50 off 68 balls to revive the innings. But left-arm spinner spinner Zulfiqar Babar first got Saad run out and then had Rameez to leave Balochistan at 218-6 in 41.5 overs.
At this stage, Yamin (56*) and Agha Salman (26*) shared 61 runs off 42 balls to take their team comfortably home.
Agha hit Test seamer Junaid Khan for a glorious six to complete the victory.
Yamin hit seven fours from 37 balls. Agha struck two fours and a six from 21 deliveries.
Spinner Arsal Sheikh got 2-26 from five overs. Zulfiqar, Bilal and Hammad got one wicket each. Junaid conceded 65 runs from 9.5 overs.
Umar Akmal won a crucial toss under simmering heat and opted to bat first.
Punjab were reeling at 125-6 in 28 overs and it seemed that the experienced side would not be able to play all 50 overs. But Umar Amin and Bilal Asif (56) put on 118 runs for the seventh wicket off 99 balls to give their bowlers a good total to defend.
Umar, whose highest total in this form of cricket was 125 not out, hit some effortless strokes in his fantastic 142-ball knock before being held in the deep off the bowling of Aamer Yamin.
Umar, who last played for Pakistan in 2013, against Australia, smacked five huge sixes and 14 fours. His fifty came off 51 balls, 100 off 102 balls and 150 off 139 balls. He hit spinner Agha Salman for a glorious six to reach his sixth century in his 100th game.
Sialkot-born Bilal, who played three One-day Internationals in 2015, reached his fifty off 40 balls, smacking five fours and two sixes before he was bowled by left-arm medium fast bowler Ghulam Mudassir with a slower one.
Umar, earlier, shared 67 off 71 balls for the fourth wicket with Abdul Rehman Muzammil (16). Muzammil hit one four from 27 deliveries.
Punjab were 43-3 in ten overs, 94-4 in 20 overs, 131-6 in 30 overs and 201-6 in 40 overs.
Yamin ripped through Punjab’s top order when he removed Salman Butt (0), Kamran Akmal (5) and Umar Akmal (0) in quick succession to leave them at 27-3 in seven overs.
Salman, who had a fine last first-class season, was trapped lbw before Kamran edged Yamin to keeper Bismillah Khan. Umar Akmal played a poor shot and discarded international Sohaib Maqsood took an excellent diving catch in the slip.
Spinner Agha Salman broke a vital partnership when he had Muzammil before Ghulam Mudassir removed Hammad Azam (15) and Fahim Ashraf (0) off two successive balls to put Punjab in deep trouble.
Mudassir got 3-58 in 10 overs. Ahsan Raza and Zameer Haider supervised the match. Ahmed Shahab was the television umpire and Ghaffar Kazmi the reserve umpire. Nadeem Arshad was the match referee.