Danish Aziz last-ball six seals stunning Sindh win

An astonishing rearguard from Aziz saw Sindh steal a two-wicket after recovering from 34 for 7

Danyal Rasool
Danyal Rasool
Danish Aziz celebrates after hitting a match-winning last-ball six  •  PCB

Danish Aziz celebrates after hitting a match-winning last-ball six  •  PCB

A stunning 47-ball 72 from Danish Aziz helped Sindh snatch victory off the final ball against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Needing 15 off the final three balls and five off the last, Aziz smashed Iftikhar Ahmed for six to seal the unlikeliest of wins to put Sindh on the brink of the semi-finals. Aziz had come in with Sindh tottering at 32 for 4 and watched them slip further to 34 for 7 in a chase of 139, before a 77-run partnership with Anwar Ali, and a stunning last-over onslaught, blindsided KP.
It had been a strangely subdued first innings from the usually free-scoring KP, with Fakhar Zaman failing to follow up his heroics from Monday. Sohail Khan, who was superb all evening, removed him in the first over for a duck and only conceded 12 off his four for two wickets. KP never quite managed to string together a partnership and at one stage looked as if they might struggle to cross 100, before an unlikely rearguard from Usman Shinwari, who smashed 36 off 15, took them to 138.
It appeared they would have nothing to worry about, with KP's bowlers swarming all over Sindh. Shinwari's figures of 4-0-20-3, combined with another stellar outing for Shaheen Afridi, and the wickets of Asad Shafiq and Azam Khan for Imran Khan saw Sindh's batting line-up blown away. At 34 for 7, it looked like a record-breaking defeat was on the cards, before an exercise in salvaging respectability turned into a partnership that gave Sindh a sniff. With 19 required off the last over, Aziz held his nerve, a straight six off the final ball sealing the most remarkable finish of the tournament.
In the evening game, Southern Punjab pulled a narrow three-run victory, surviving a after Faheem Ashraf onslaught to cling on, keeping their faint hopes of qualification alive. Chasing 205, the game ebbed and flowed before Central Punjab took it to the final over, where they needed 12, only to fall short thanks to a tidy over from Player of the Match Mohammad Abbas.
Earlier, Central Punjab got off to a shocking start, losing Babar Azam for a golden duck. Kamran Akmal and Abdullah Shafique put on a 43-run partnership, but when both fell quickly, they needed to rebuild again. Muhammad Akhlaq (30 off 18) and Rizwan Hussain (29 off 27) kept the scoreboard ticking without either being able to kick on before Ashraf took charge, smashing 54 off 22 and bringing Central Punjab to the brink of victory.
Put into bat first, Southern Punjab captain Shan Masood (50 off 38) anchored two solid 50-runs partnerships - first with opener Zain Abbas (16 off 13) and then with number three batsman Hussain Talat (unbeaten 59 off 36). Sohaib Maqsood chipped in with a quickfire 25 off 12 balls before been bowled by Zafar Gohar - who finished with two wickets. Hussain and Khushdil Shah (47 off 23) further bloated the total, their unbeaten 68-run stand ensuring SP would cross 200. Hours later, they would need every one of those runs.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000