Pakistan National T20 Cup – All-round Khyber Pakhtunkhwa trump Balochistan to move up to No. 2


The 55-run defeat left Bismillah Khan’s team in fifth place on the six-team table

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 202 for 5 (Farhan 43, Rizwan 40, Iftikhar 36, Bhatti 2-34) beat Balochistan 147 for 9 (Sohail 61*, Afridi 3-8, Iqbal 3-16) by 55 runs

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa rose to No. 2 on the six-team Pakistan National T20 Cup table, while Balochistan stayed at fifth, after Mohammad Rizwan‘s side put in a dominant performance in their game in Rawalpindi on Saturday evening. The lower order did the job with the bat to take Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from what looked likely to be a good total, around 180, to a huge 202 for 5 after they were asked to bat. Asif Afridi and Arshad Iqbal then returned three-fors to script a 55-run win.

It was Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s fourth win in five matches, and gave them eight points, leaving only Sindh ahead of them. As for Balochistan, there’s only the winless, and luckless, Southern Punjab below them.

Rizwan, who scored a 34-ball 40, and Israrullah gave Khyber Pakhtunkhwa a decent but unspectacular start, getting to 43 midway into the sixth over before the latter was dismissed, and the scoring rate didn’t spike much as Rizwan and Sahibzada Farhan (43 in 31) added 37 for the second wicket. At the halfway stage, they were at 80.

The real impetus came after that. Asif Afridi hit a four and two sixes in his four-ball 16 from No. 4, while Iftikhar Ahmed‘s 36 came from 18 balls, Musadiq Ahmed hit an unbeaten 17 in nine balls, and Adil Amin hit 26 not out in 13 balls; 122 runs were added in the last ten overs.

It would have been tough for any side to chase that down, and Balochistan have been in a bit of a hole anyway. On the day, they were 8 for 1 and then 16 for 2, with Shaheen Shah Afridi calling the shots, and the seventh wicket had fallen by the 14th over with the total just 83. By then, Asif and Arshad were in charge, and the game was as good as over.

Balochistan batted through to the end, though, and that was mainly down to Sohail Akhtar, who scored an unbeaten 61 in 43 balls, with two fours and five sixes, to at least give Balochistan’s NRR a bit of a boost.

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