An unbeaten 52-ball 86 from Babar Azam and an all-round show by Faheem Ashraf powered a new-look Central Punjab to a comprehensive win over Northern to ending their five-match winning streak. The duo missed the side's first encounter in Multan with Azam playing in the Vitality Blast and Ashraf recovering from a knee injury. They shared an unbeaten 105-run partnership for the third wicket to steer their side home with three overs still to spare.
Ashraf had also taken four wickets, conceding just 18 runs after Northern won the toss and opted to bat first. These included three of Northern's top four, helping reduce the defending champions to 52 for 4. Shadab Khan chipped in with a quickfire 39 off 25, while Asif Ali's blistering 40-ball 67 off 40 changed the momentum somewhat and saw Northern surge to 165, a total they might have considered possible to defend.
But Central Punjab responded aggressively with Kamran Akmal and Azam putting on a 54-run opening stand to wrest back control of the match. Khan removed Akmal and Abdullah Shafique, and while that might have proved the turning point in Azam's absence, the Pakistan captain ensured his side stayed well on top. In a chanceless innings, he kept the scoreboard ticking over, while Ashraf at the other end provided the fireworks during his 52 not out off 26. It meant the chase ended up being a cakewalk, keeping Central Punjab afloat with a much-needed win, just their second in six matches.
In the other game, Southern Punjab picked up a first win thanks to Khushdil Shah's record breaking T20 hundred, coming off just 35 balls, helping his side beat Sindh by two wickets in a thrilling contest. He became the quickest Pakistani to a T20 hundred, beating Ahmed Shehzad's record by five balls. Assisted by Hussain Talat, who contributed with 62 off 36, the pair rallied for a remarkable comeback to stun Sindh.
For Sindh, Khurram Manzoor had hit a century, the 58-ball 108 was his fourth T20 hundred. He combined with Asad Shafiq in a 123-run stand ensure the side put up 216, setting Southern Punjab a daunting chase. Shan Masood's side had won the toss and opted to field but never found the right control with the ball. The three bowlers brought in - Dilbar Hussain, Mohammad Abbas and Mohammad Ilyas - all came in for severe punishment, combining to concede 133 in their 12 overs though Ilyas had clipped two wickets conceding 40 while Abbas and Hussain had figures of 0-49 and 1-45 runs respectively.
In the chase, Southern Punjab lost the top four quickly, leaving the side reeling around 43 in first seven overs. But Shah and Talat joined hands for a blistering 127-run partnership to swing the momentum away from Sindh. They scored 100 in just 37 balls to keep the chase alive, and when Shah holed out after reaching a hundred, Talat hung on, ensuring South Punjab managed to get over the line in a nerve-wracking final-over finish.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent