- Scorecard available here; action photos and post-match media conferences of Salman Butt and Asad Shafiq available for free download and editorial use
Rawalpindi, 12 April 2019: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa won the Mughal Steel Pakistan Cup 2019 with a thrilling nine-run victory over Balochistan in front of a packed Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi, on Friday.
The final went down to the wire with Balochistan requiring 12 in the last over to overhaul Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s 307. However, Balochistan managed only two runs to finish at 298 for nine.
When the penultimate over started, Balochistan had needed 22 with four wickets standing, but while they scored 10 runs, they lost three crucial wickets and looked down and out.
Sohail Khan was the star bowler for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who finished with figures of three for 75, while Umaid Asif bagged two for 51. Sohail, who had earlier contributed a rapid 45 not out, was later adjudged player of the final.
Opener Awaiz Zia had led Balochistan’s run-chase when he scored a 94-ball 83 that included 10 fours. He set the platform for a potential victory by putting on 92 runs for the second wicket with Asad Shafiq (48 off 45 balls).
However, barring Fawad Alam (48 off 61 balls with two fours), no other batsman could take Balochistan to their maiden title. In contrast, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa collected their second title after winning the inaugural evet in 2016.
The Pindi Cricket Stadium was packed to capacity for the final, the crowd made their way to the stadium from the afternoon and wholeheartedly supported the two teams who fought tooth and nail for victory in the tournament decider. The Pindi Stadium enclosures were adorned by big Pakistan flags as the vibrant crowd turned the occasion into a memorable one.
Earlier in the day, opener Abid Ali’s sixth List A century was the highlight of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s batting effort after captain Salman Butt had won the toss and opted to bat first.
Abid added 136 runs for the second wicket with Mohammad Saad (51 off 61 balls, five fours) after Salman (two) had fallen cheaply to Haris Rauf.
Abid singlehandedly kept the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa innings together as wickets fell from the other end. The right-hander completed his 100 off 91 balls as he maintained a healthy strike rate throughout. He was eventually dismissed by Ammad Butt for a 119-ball 132 that included 12 fours and three sixes with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa placed at 238 for six in the 43rd over.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa went past the 300-run mark, courtesy some lusty blows by Sohail Khan who scored an unbeaten 45 off only 20 balls with the help of one four and five sixes.
Sohail added 69 off the last 40 balls of the innings with Wahab Riaz who scored 22 off 21 balls (one four, one six). Ali Imran with three for 48 in 10 overs was the pick of the Balochistan bowlers. Haris took two for 41 in his 10 overs.
Scores in brief:
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Balochistan by nine runs
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 307-7, 50 overs (Abid Ali 132, Mohammad Saad 51, Sohail Khan 45 not out; Ali Imran 3-48, Haris Rauf 2-41)
Balochistan 298-9, 50 overs (Awais Zia 83, Asad Shafiq 48, Fawad Alam 48; Sohail Khan 3-75)
Player of the match – Sohail Khan
Best Batsman of the tournament – Umar Akmal (342 runs, avg: 85.50)
Best Bowler of the tournament – Wahab Riaz and Ammad Butt (nine wickets each)
Best All-rounder of the tournament – Hammad Azam (144 runs, nine wickets)