A flaming 34-ball 68 from Fakhar Zaman orchestrated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s fifth T20 National Cup win when they recorded an all-out 73-run win against Southern Punjab at Pindi Cricket Stadium on Monday.
KP v SP | Pakistan National T20 Cup 2020 Match 21 Highlights
The left-hander opened his third half century of the tournament before Musadiq Ahmed shot 33 runs of nine balls to bring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to an imposing 205 for four.
After Shan Masood’s decision to roll first, Fakhar Khyber Pakhtunkhwa made a solid start. The 30-year-old smashed up to 11 fours and two sixs over the course of an inning, during which he entered into a 71-year partnership for the second wicket with Mohammad Hafeez, who completed 17 runs with 20 balls.
Fakhar set Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s innings on fire in the fifth over for 19 runs, crushing Ali Shafiq for three fours and a six.
Thinking about his innings, Fakhar said, “As a batsman you want to score a goal in every game, but I’m glad I chose the form at the right time. I enjoy my run in the tournament. The pitches in Rawalpindi offer quality competitions.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was well positioned at 99 when Fakhar was caught by Mohammad Ilyas on the penultimate ball of the 10th over Hussain Talat. Hafeez followed him two balls later, lowering Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s batting average as the next 3.5 overs added just 24 runs to their total.
Iftikhar Ahmed hit four sixes in his 22-ball 36 before being dismissed on the second ball of the 18th by Ilyas, which ended at 43 for two.
Musadiq, who was replacing Iftikhar, was driving from the next four deliveries to 20 runs when he crashed six, six, four and four. That made 21 runs – most in the innings for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The 31-year-old hit six and four before he didn’t come back at 33.
He partnered with Shoaib Malik (33 out of 28, one four) for 43 runs of 16 balls, and the fact that the seasoned all-rounder only contributed eight highlights how Musadiq dominated the process.
Aamer Yamin was the other bowler who took two wickets. The right arm quickly returned two for 36.
Southern Punjab’s miserable run in the tournament continued when they were skipped in 19.3 overs for 132. Shan (0 of 3) was the first wicket to fall when he was dismissed on the third ball by Shaheen Shah Afridi – the tournament’s tallest wicket taker at 15 scalps on 4/7 out of six games to date.
Wicketkeeper batsman Zeeshan Ashraf dropped out in game four after making 10 out of 11, reducing southern Punjab to 21 for two. A 40-run stand for the third wicket between Zain Abbas (34 of 21, three fours and two sixs) and Sohaib Maqsood (17 of 16, three fours) gave southern Punjab fans a glimmer of hope.
However, Sohaib’s dismissal on the final ball of the eighth over sparked a collapse that saw southern Punjab slide from 61 for three to 78 for seven.
Mohammad Imran struck at eight and made rapid fire 48 that only reduced defeat. Imran hit six fours and two sixs at the crease during his 28-ball stint.
Junaid Khan of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the pacemaker with the left arm, took two wickets for 31 runs.