The National T20 Cup 2021 has kick-started with thrills. The event was anticipated highly for the first time in Pakistan domestic arena following recent massive blows by the Cricket Board (PCB), and the nation has suffered.
Undeniably, the slogan “Khel to ho Raha hai” of the NT20 answers the NZ tour that was read as ‘Ho Raha Hai’. The sudden withdrawal, later followed by the England Cricket Board (ECB) abandoning their tour to Pakistan, has fumed up the Pakistanis. The ignited patriots or the officials have now gathered together to make NT20 a world-class domestic contest.
As scheduled, Day 1 began on 23rd September, marking Northern vs Balochistan as the opening encounter. Being a double-header day, the lookouts enjoyed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Central Punjab lately.
What makes the event more exciting is the inclusion of the T20 World Cup squad to provide them with the practising forum ahead of the big event following NZ, Eng tours cancellations.
National T20 Cup 2021: Moments Of The Day 1
NOR vs BLU, match 1:
NOR vs BLU, the first game of the 2021 season, witnessed some top-notched performances from either side. NOR, after winning the toss, and opting to bowl first, conceded a decent chase of 140 runs. The decent it looked, the easier it was chased.
The additions of Haider Ali and Asif Ali remained remarkable while chasing as the duo contributed with 58* (41) and 43* (20). Asif’s inning felt more like a slap to the critics by himself. He has been shattered lately following his induction in the WT20 squad.
Unquestionably, the underpressure BLU, by every means, were empowered by the Shadab Khan-led army. Haris Rauf and Mohammad Nawaz showcased their pace, spin tactics sequentially, bagging 2 wickets individually at economies of 4.25 and 7.75. The winning squad’s bowling line-up seized 7 of BLU’s wickets.
BLU, who could total 139, did not have the chance to deliver the last three overs following Shadab’s men influential offerings. The losing team’s Abdul Bangalzai, Akbar ur Rehman remained united, adding 24 off 24 balls. Kashif Bhatti was quite alike, adding 24 off 25 whereas Amad Butt played his role with 34 of 24. Their bowlers could only grasp 4 of the triumphant.
CEP vs KPK, match 2:
The second encounter, seeing CEP as the toss winners, witnessed them down when it comes to winning the match. With 60 runs needed on 20 balls by the end, CEP fans anticipated their team to be majestic at times but the Babar Azam-led side ended up in a massive disappointment. His defeat also raises the question if he is the right choice for the T20 World Cup 2021 leadership as Mohammad Rizwan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been impressive so far.
KPK, the last season’s trophy lifters, have stepped into NT20’s field with a great boost once again. It seems like Rizwan is the champ of twenty over formats. He solely added 65 off 40 contributing to the team big total worth 187. KPK lost 5 wickets but it does not make a notable difference to their batting line-up. It was a direct failure for CEP’s bowlers.
Alongside Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman added 26 off 23 whereas, Iftikhar Ahmed’s 40 off 25 are worth mentioning. Rizwan-led side bowlers looked in action too. With the likes of Imran Khan, Asif Afridi, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Arshad Iqbal, and Mohammad Wasim in the crew, KPK can not easily let go of the opponent batters.
Notably, Shaheen bagged 3 wickets classically at an economy of 6.25 in 4 overs. Imran and Arshad bagged 2 each at an economy of 9.25 and 8.50 respectively. Whereas, Asif could add 1 but that was worth grasping.
CEP’s failure in two departs is very certain. Failing in the 150s means losing the first contest by a wide margin of 30 and more runs. The collapse of Kamran Akmal was already the big blow. Babar, himself could not add more than 29 runs. Ahmed Shehzad, who only tallied 24 off 16, was followed by Mohammad Akhlaq’s ignited inning of 62 off 35 runs – it went in vain, a huge disappointment for the losers.