Sialkot edge thriller with Mukhtar’s record 123


Mukhtar Ahmed‘s record-breaking 123 off 67 deliveries, the highest individual score in domestic T20s in Pakistan, helped set up Sialkot Region‘s thrilling seven-run win over Karachi Region Whites, as the latter narrowly missed out on chasing down a target of 199.

Sialkot, led by Shoaib Malik, opted to bat and got off to a flying start as Ahmed and his opening partner Nauman Anwar added 125 runs in 12.1 overs. After Anwar’s dismissal for 51 off 34 deliveries, Ahmed maintained a brisk scoring rate despite little support from the batsmen at the other end – apart from the openers, none of the Sialkot batsmen managed a double-figure score. Ahmed was dismissed off the last ball of the penultimate over, after striking 18 fours and three sixes, and his innings ensured Sialkot finished at a strong 198 for 5.

Karachi Whites responded cautiously and lost three wickets for 45 runs within the first six overs. Opener Ahsan Ali – who scored 76 off 46 balls with seven fours and four sixes – shared an 82-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Saifullah Bangash to keep the chase ticking over. The side, however, struggled to keep pace with the asking rate and went into the final over needing 30 to win. Tariq Haroon smacked two sixes and two fours off the first four deliveries but the side was eventually restricted to 191 for 6. Sultan Ahmed and Bilawal Bhatti were the best bowlers for Sialkot with returns of 3-0-26-2 and 4-0-22-2 respectively.

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