KARACHI: Abid Ali and Sohail Khan permitted Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to recover the title when they defeated Balochistan by 9 runs in the day-night final of the Pakistan Cup at the Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi, on Friday.
Abid hammered an excellent 132 off 119 balls and Sohail chipped in with a fiery 20-ball 45 not out to allow KP to publish a fighting total of 307-7 in the allocated 50 overs. Sohail also showed his class with the leather as he decided on 3-75 in 10 overs to control Balochistan to 298-9.
In the last over, bowled by Wahab Riaz, Balochistan required 12 runs, but they handled only 2. After planning to bat on a batting-friendly monitor, KP had a fragile begin when right-arm fast Haris Rauf got rid of skipper Salman Butt 2), who edged the ball to stumper Bismillah Khan.
Encouraging multinational Abid Ali played a sheet-anchor position. The 31-year-old lived till the death overs to finish a well-deserved 100 years. Abid, who scored a 100 years on his one-day debut against Australia currently, added 136 for the 2 wicket with Gujranwala-born Mohammad Saad, who dropped after having 61-ball 51. Saad hammered 5 fours and one 6 in his gutsy knock.
Quickly soon after, Adil Amin (1) and Khushdil Shah (2) fell effortlessly, which put stress on KP. All-rounder Zohaib Khan (27) given ample encourage to Abid as the duo put on effective 42 for the 5th wicket to stabilize the innings.
Zohaib, who was eliminated by Ali Imran, smacked 2 fours from 36 balls. Adnan Akmal (14) and Abid tried to score fast runs, but each was eliminated within the area of 3 balls, which left KP at 238-6 in 43.2 overs.
Abid hammered 12 fours and 3 sixes in his sixth Report A 100 years. Abid brought in his fifty off fifty two balls and his 100 had off 91 deliveries. It appeared that KP will not be able to cross the 300-run tag but Check cricketers Sohail Khan (45*) and Wahab Riaz (22) put on 69 valuable runs for the eighth wicket unbroken partnership.
Sohail smacked 5 large sixes and one 4. Wahab hammered 1 six and one 4 from 21 deliveries. Rookie Ali Imran remained outstanding with the ball, taking 3-48 in 10 overs which included the cherished scalp of in-form Khushdil.
Haris Rauf performed tough for 2-41 in 10 overs. Balochistan, in answer, lost Zeeshan Ashraf (16) effortlessly. But Awais Zia (83) and skipper Asad Shafiq (48) batted solidly and shared 92 for the 2nd wicket.
Asad, who admonished himself after being stumped by Adnan, off the bowling of spinner Zohaib Khan, hammered 7 fours from 45 balls. Lanky medium-pacer Umaid Asif then got Umar Akmal (23) to leave Balochistan at 163-3 in the 27th over.
Umar hammered 2 sixes and one 4 from 16 balls. Fawad Alam joined Awais but Umaid ignored the second option to make the game evenly poised. Awais, who was dropped by Adnan off the bowling of Umaid when on 68, smashed 10 fours from 94 balls.
Ali Imran hammered a 22-ball 27 with 3 fours and one 6 to maintain Balochistan’s hopes alive. Bismillah Khan got run out after scoring 20 off 23 balls, which included 2 fours. The wicket-keeper batsman additional 44 runs for the sixth wicket with Fawad to maintain Balochistan in the hunt.
Sohail lived up to the billing as he got rid of Fawad (48), Haris (8) and Amad Butt (11) in fast succession, shattering Balochistan’s hopes for their 1st crown. Fawad, who was dropped by Sohail off his own bowling when on 41, smashed 2 fours from 61 balls.
Sohail was ably backed by Umaid who got 2-51 in 10 overs. Sohail has announced the Man of the Match for his good all-round show. The winners KP were handed over a glittering trophy and a purse of Rs2 million with the runners-up Balochistan going away with Rs1 million. Shozab Raza and Ahsan Raza supervised the match. Mohammad Anees was the match referee.