Maroof's unbeaten half-century guides Challengers to title

Maroof's unbeaten half-century guides Challengers to title Maroof's unbeaten half-century guides Challengers to title

Bismah Maroof in action. © PCB

PCB Challengers downed PCB Blasters by six wickets in the final of the National Triangular T20 Women's Cricket Championship at the National Stadium in Karachi on Thursday (January 16). In the first day-night clash of the tournamnt, Challengers' bowlers - led by their spinners - combined to restrict Blasters to a below-par total of 128, before Bismah Maroof's unbeaten 53 ensured an easy chase for her team.
Opting to bat first Blasters openers Javeria Khan and Ayesha Naseem started solidly by putting on 51 runs for the opening wicket. Seasoned campaigner Javeria took charge of the game at the very start, doing a bulk of the scoring to lead the way. However, just when the pair seemed to be ready to unleash more wrath on the Challengers, Sadia Iqbal removed Naseem for 11.
That wicket brought Challengers back into the match as they kept chipping away at the wickets. The fall of Javeria for a rapid 43 allowed Challengers' spinners to then take complete control of the game. The trio of Sadia, Saba Nazir and Syeda Aroob Shah kept things tight, slowing the flow of runs in the middle overs. Before they knew it, Blasters had slipped from a position of strength to suddenly having lost four more wickets. However, Sidra Nawaz's vital knock of 20 enabled Blasters to finish on 128 for 7.
For Challengers, Nazir was the most successful bowler with figures of 2 for 22 off her four overs.

Chasing a modest target of 129, Challengers were rocked early when they lost the in-form Muneeba Ali for just 10 runs. Anam Amin dismissed the left-hander who was caught at backward point throwing her hands at a very wide delivery. Maroof then walked in at number three and immediately started to rotate the strike as Challengers finished power play on 34 for the loss of two wickets - Ayesha Zafar the second to go. Steadily, the team in green built on the solid association between Maroof and Nida Dar, going past the 50-run mark.
The pair shared a 61-run stand for the third wicket to ensure Challengers stayed ahead of the rate. Just when things were heading in Challengers' direction, Blasters struck by removing Dar for 30. There was, however, no further wobble as Maroof and Fatima Sana clinically finished things off with seven balls to spare. Fittingly, Maroof ended the chase with a boundary and also brought her fifty up.
Brief scores: PCB Blasters 128/7 in 20 overs (Javeria Khan 43, Sidra Nawaz 20; Saba Nazir 2-22) lost to PCB Challengers 130/4 in 18.5 overs (Bismah Maroof 53*, Nida Dar 30; Ramin Shamim 2-24) by six wickets.
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