National T20 Cup: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa defeats Central Punjab in the final
National T20 Cup: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa defeated Central Punjab by seven wickets in the final match of the National T20 Cup at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore on Wednesday.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa successfully defended the title thanks to their captain Iftikhar Ahmed’s performance.
Iftikhar stroked a whirlwind 45 not out off 19 as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa overhauled a 149-run target with 18 balls spare. Captain arrived at the crease with his side requiring 59 runs from 7.4 overs and smashed two sixes and six boundaries to finish as the second-best batter of the National T20 Cup with 409 runs scored at a staggering strike rate of 170.41.
Iftikhar won the player of the final and the best player of the tournament awards. Adil Amin with an unbeaten 25 off 21 provided his skipper support from the other end.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s run chase was off to a quiet start as Central Punjab captain Wahab Riaz bowled a maiden over to Sahibzada Farhan. Young wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Haris spanked Sameen Gul for a boundary and a six in the second over before he was dismissed.
The second wicket 47 runs stand between Farhan, who was named as the best batter for scoring the 447 – the most in the National T20 Cup – at a strike rate of 132, and Kamran Ghulam (37 off 31) staged the recovery and put Khyber Pakhtunkhwa into a strong position.
Farhan made 26 off 28 and was dismissed by young off-spinner Qasim Akram.
Ahmed, who top-scored in the innings with 44 off 36, smashed Arshad Iqbal for two boundaries in the second over, but it was the 5th over when their partnership truly kicked off as the two smashed left-arm orthodox Asif Afridi for two boundaries and a six in an over that added 16 to the total.
Central Punjab 148 all out, 19.2 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 44, Kamran Akmal 42, Qasim Akram 20; Iftikhar Ahmed 3-5, Mohammad Imran 3-26, Arshad Iqbal 2-28)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 152-3, 17 overs (Iftikhar Ahmed 45 not out, Kamran Ghulam 37, Sahibzada Farhan 26, Adil Amin 25 not out; Sameen Gul 1-19, Qasim Akram 1-27, Mohammad Faizan 1-46)
Player of the final: Iftikhar Ahmed
Player of the tournament: Iftikhar Ahmed (409 runs and eight wickets)
Best batter of the tournament: Sahibzada Farhan (447 runs)
Best bowler of the tournament: Imran Khan Snr (16 wickets)
Best wicketkeeper of the tournament: Rohail Nazir (12 dismissals)
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