Khyber Pakhtunkhwa registered an emphatic win against Balochistan in the all-important final of Pakistan Cup by 9 runs as they defended the target of 308 runs by restricting the opponents to 298.
Abid Ali lead the way for KPK as he played an authoritative inning of 132 runs off 119 deliveries as the captain Salman Butt won the toss and elected to bat first.
Though KPK lost their skipper early in the inning, Abid and Muhammad Saad provided the platform to their side by contributing 136 runs together, before the one-down batsman fell after making 51 (61).
Abid, who has made the case for his World Cup selection stronger with his performance in the Pakistan Cup, was the one man army in the middle, while all other batsmen played around him.
KPK sulk from 138/1 to 159/4 as Adil Amin, Khushdil Shah and the wicketkeeper-batsman, Adnan Akmal failed to perform with the bat. Whereas, Zohaib Khan played a fighting 27-run inning.
As the runner ups of 2018 seemed to lose their way at the backend of the inning, Wahab Riaz alongside Sohail Khan sailed their team’s ship as they had a handy 69-run partnership as a decent pace. Riaz remained not out on 22 (21), while Sohail Khan played a match-changing cameo of 45 runs off 20 deliveries.
The effort from the two fast bowlers took KPK to a total of 307/7 at the end of their 50-over quota. Ali Imran remained the pick of the bowler with three wickets, whereas, Haris Rauf took two and Umer Khan and Amad Butt picked one wicket each.
As Balochistan came out to chase, they lost their first wicket on 36 as Zeeshan Ashraf became a victim of Mohammad Irfan Jr. However, the aggressive opening batsman Awais Zia and Asad Shafiq shared a 92-run stand that gave Balochistan a hope to become the championship.
As the partnership started to look threatening for KPK, Shafiq was removed by Zohaib Khan on 48 (45). The set batsman’s wicket caused the stir and Balochistan’s pursuit got dented. They lost Umar Akmal 27 (22) and Awais Zia 83 (94) in quick successions.
Fawad Alam then played the anchor role, while other batsmen played the role of aggressors from the other end. He played a slow and steady inning of 48 runs on 61 balls, while Ali Imran and Bismillah Khan scored 27 and 20 runs, but it was not enough to get their side over the line.
Balochistan failed to get to the target as they remained 9 down for 298 runs at the end of their 50 over quota.
Sohail Khan picked three wickets in the process and received the man of the match award, whereas, Umaid Asif took two. Mohammad Irfan Jr, Wahab Riaz and Zohaib Khan struck once.