A comprehensive all-round performance from Muhammad Rizwan-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) saw them ease past Southern Punjab (SP) by seven wickets in the 5th match of the National T20 Cup played in Rawalpindi on Saturday.
KP found both their bowlers and batters on song in a comfortable win that ascended them to the top of the table.
Muhammad Rizwan had opted to field first, and with arguably the best bowling attack, Imran Khan and Mohammad Wasim found themselves among the wickets early to stifle SP, and while Mohammad Imran tried to hold the innings together, wickets continued to fall at the other end. Shaheen Afridi who had gone wicketless in his first spell returned to remove the dangerous Khushdil as well as the stubborn Mohammad Imran, and aside from a breezy 14-ball 25 from Hassan Khan, there was limited resistance from the lower order as SP folded for 152.
Naseem Shah gave SP some hope by taking the wicket of Fakhar Zaman early but KP resisted after the quick blow. Rizwan’s breathtaking 2021 continued with another commanding, assured pivotal role in the run-chase, while Sahibzada Farhan took on a more attacking role at the other end. The duo kept SP frustrated for the best part of the innings in a stunning 136-run partnership, and by the time both fell off consecutive deliveries, the game was all but done at the time. Adil Amin and Iftikhar Ahmed scored the remaining runs to keep KPK two games’ winning run.
Imran Khan was named as the Player of the Match for his contribution to holding back the opposing batters on the back foot taking four wickets and achieving a figure of 4/28 in 3.4 overs.
Earlier, the captains of all the six participating sides of the National T20 have urged fans in Rawalpindi and Lahore, to rally behind the tournament which showcases the best of Pakistan’s T20 talent.
All 18 Pakistan players (including the three traveling reserves) selected for ICC Men’s T20 World Cup will be seen in action in the tournament that runs from 23 September to 13 October.
Earlier, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa captain Muhammad Rizwan said on Thursday, “The tournament provides us a great opportunity to prove to the world that we are as safe as any cricketing destination, all the players are motivated to go a step extra this time around in the National T20. All six teams are balanced while being defending champions, our aim will be to defend the title.”
Meanwhile, in the sixth match of the tournament, Sarfaraz side Sindh has beaten Imad Wasim-led Northern as Sarfaraz announced as Man of the Match with an unbeaten 42 runs.
In the next match, Baluchistan will be facing winless Southern Punjab at Rawalpindi stadium.