Haris' four-wicket haul secures semis berth for Northern.

LAHORE -- Defending champions Northern became the first side to secure a semi-final berth in the National T20 Cup for First XI teams as they overcame Southern Punjab by five runs in a last over thriller played at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Sunday evening.

According to information made available here, Southern Punjab now need to not only win each of their remaining four matches, they would also need help from some other favourable results to sneak through to the semi-finals. In-form fast bowler Haris Rauf (man-of-the-match) continued his golden run in the tournament with a fiery four wicket burst to take his tournament wicket tally to 14 in six matches while ensuring the defence of the below-par 145-run total that Northern had set Southern Punjab.

Haris removed Southern Punjab captain Shan Masood (4) and Umar Siddiq (0) in his opening burst while Northern captain Imad Wasim accounted for the danger man Sohaib Maqsood for 19 to reduce Southern Punjab to 26 for three in seven overs. Haris then returned to account for Hussain Talat (12) while Southern Punjab suffered a major blow when Khushdil Shah who scored a 35-ball century against Sindh in the previous game, ran himself out in search of a quick single for 26 (20 balls, two sixes).

Zeeshan Ashraf, who batted at number six, fell for 25, Haris then bowled Dilbar Hussain (1) on the final ball of his spell to return figures of four for 23 in four overs. Aamer Yamin kept the hopes alive for Southern Punjab as he brought the equation down to 15 off the last over with some lusty blows, Imad conceded a mere nine runs in the final over while accounting for Mohammad Ilyas. Aamer remained unbeaten on 33 off 19 balls (three fours and two sixes) Southern Punjab ended their 20 overs at 140 for eight.

Reflecting on his performance, man-of-the-match Haris Rauf said: 'I want to thank the Almighty, it was a full team effort and we were well led by our captain. We all gave it our all and it worked for us. I was giving my full...

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