RAWALPINDI - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa won a closely fought Pakistan Cup 2019 match against Sindh by 9 runs at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi, on Tuesday to seal their place in Friday’s final. The result meant Balochistan also progressed to the championship match against KP.

Khushdil Shah was the player who single-handedly took Khyber Pakhtunkhwa into the final with his sensational innings of 66-ball 100 runs studded with 8 boundaries and 5 sixes. At one stage, KP were looking down and out as they had lost 4 wickets for 120 in 26.3 overs, but when Khushdil joined M Saad, both the players contributed well in making KP’s total respectable as they scored 300.

KP started their innings in the worst possible manner as last match hero Salman Butt was back in the dugout in the very first over after scoring just 4 runs. Abdi Ali also couldn’t stay long at the crease and was sent packing when the KP were struggling at 50 runs. Abid could score 16. Adil Amin did provide some respectability to KP total, but he also got out at the total of 94.

Muhammad Saad continued to impress with his batting and played a wonderful knock of 69 studded with 6 fours and one six. But all the top KP batsmen were back to the pavilion and the things were looking extremely grim for KP to post a reasonable total. Sindh could have leapfrogged them, as it was three-way battle for the finals, involving Balcohistan, but they couldn’t succeed.

Khushdil’s brilliant 100 runs knock earns him man of the match award

Khushdil not only kept one-end intact, but also scored at a brisk rate to ensure KP post decent total, which proved to be the difference in the end. KP were bowled out for 300 on the final delivery of the 50th over. Hammad Azam bagged 3 wickets for 60 while M Ilyas captured 3-66 and Junaid Khan 2-52.

Sindh started their run-chase in a positive manner and posted 38 in 8 overs. Both openers Umer Siddiq and Sahibzada Farhan were looking dangerous, before Farhan was sent packing by M Irfan Junior. In-form Ahsan Ali also couldn’t make any impact and was out after contributing just 16 runs, as Sindh were struggling at 66-2 in 14 overs.

Umer Siddiq was joined by Umer Amin and both put on 68 runs for third wicket. But first Umer Siddiq was out after scoring 69 and then Umer Amin also departed after scoring 32 when Sindh’s total score was 151. Asif Ali was playing his natural hard-hitting game and was taking match away from KP but Umaid Asif then took precious wicket of Asif to slow down high-flying Sindh. Asif gathered 42 off 33 balls with the help of 5 fours and one six.

Hammad Azam was the last hope for Sindh, but he also left the crease after scoring 24. Imran Rafiq fought gallantly and kept one-end intact but he kept on losing partners on the other end. His brave unbeaten 61 runs proved too less to carry Sindh home, as they could score 291-9 in allotted overs and after the defeat, they were out of the final race. Zohaib Khan claimed 3-50 while Wahab Riaz and Umaid Asif took two wickets apiece. Khushdil was declared player of the match.

KP, who had won the inaugural Pakistan Cup in 2016, finished their four matches with 7 points (3 wins and 1 no-result), Balochistan have five points from three matches while Sindh and Punjab have two points apiece.

Scorecard

KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA:

Salman Butt b Umar Gul 4

Abid Ali c Asif Ali b Junaid Khan 16

Mohammad Saad c Umar Siddiq b Mohammad Ilyas 69

Adil Amin c Umar Gul b Nauman Ali 23

Wahab Riaz c Asif Ali b Hammad Azam 18

Khushdil Shah c sub b Mohammad Ilyas 100

Adnan Akmal c Sahibzada Farhan b Hammad Azam 8

Zohaib Khan c Imran Rafiq b Hammad Azam 13

Sohail Khan c Mohammad Ilyas b Junaid Khan 22

Mohammad Irfan not out 8

Umaid Asif c Asif Ali b Mohammad Ilyas 12

EXTRAS: (b1, lb2, w4) 7

TOTAL: (all out; 50 overs) 300

FOW: 1-4, 2-50, 3-94, 4-120, 5-143, 6-178, 7-207, 8-274, 9-287, 10-300

BOWLING: Umar Gul 10-0-64-1, Nauman Ali 10-0-55-1, Junaid Khan 10-0-52-2, Mohammad Ilyas 10-1-66-3, Hammad Azam 10-0-60-3

SINDH:

Umar Siddiq c Adnan Akmal b Zohaib Khan 69

Sahibzada Farhan c †Adnan Akmal b Mohammad Irfan 22

Ahsan Ali c Mohammad Saad b Umaid Asif 16

Umar Amin c Khushdil Shah b Zohaib Khan 32

Asif Ali lbw b Umaid Asif 42

Imran Rafiq not out 61

Hammad Azam b Zohaib Khan 24

Nauman Ali b Wahab Riaz 15

Umar Gul b Wahab Riaz 1

Mohammad Ilyas run out 1

Junaid Khan not out 0

EXTRAS: (lb6, w2) 8

TOTAL: (9 wkts; 50 overs) 291

FOW: 1-38, 2-66, 3-134, 4-151, 5-199, 6-241, 7-277, 8-281, 9-291

BOWLING: Sohail Khan 10-0-50-0, Mohammad Irfan 9-0-58-1, Wahab Riaz 10-0-46-2, Umaid Asif 8-0-56-2, Zohaib Khan 9-0-50-3, Khushdil Shah 4-0-25-0

TOSS: Sindh

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Khushdil Shah