RAWALPINDI - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa registered first victory in the Pakistan Cup One-Day 2017 after outclassing Punjab by 35 runs in their second match of the event played here at Pindi Stadium on Wednesday.

Chasing mammoth 314-run target for win, Punjab were bowled out for 278 in 46.3 overs. Imran Khan Senior was wrecker-in-chief of Punjab batting as he grabbed 5-57 and was also named player of the match.

Earlier, Punjab got off to worse possible start in their run-chase as they lost opener Salman Butt cheaply. But Kamran Akmal and Umer Amin steadied the Punjab ship. Kamran was caught by Iftikhar Ahmed after scoring 57 with the help of 10 fours, while Umer Amin was clean-bowled by pacer Imran Khan. Soon Saad Nasim was also sent packing as Punjab was reeling at 136-4 and to make the things worse, Hammad Azam was also showed the pavilion.

Skipper Umar Akmal held his nerves and played captain’s knock of 76-ball 77, studded with 9 fours and two massive sixes. Left-hander Faheem gave some hope to Punjab as he made 32. Imran Khan Senior provided the breakthrough on the second delivery of his fresh spell, while Punjab’s last hope Bilal Asif was superbly caught at short midwicket by Shoaib Malik off Waqas. Zafar Gohar was most expensive bowler as he conceded 28 runs in 3 overs and took just one wicket while Waqas Maqsood bagged 2-50.

Earlier, helped by 89-run opening partnership between Imran Butt and Iftikhar Ahmed, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa piled up 313-5 on the board in allotted 50 overs. After getting off to relatively brisk start, KP batsmen wasted a lot of precious deliveries in the middle of the innings. It was only Shoaib Malik’s whirlwind batting, which ensured KP post decent score on the board. KP skipper M Rizwan won the toss and opted to bat first on a perfect batting paradise pitch. Imran was the first to go at total of 89. Iftikhar followed him soon but not before completing a superb half century, as he got out scoring 58. Rizwan used different tactics against Punjab, as he sent make-shift opening pair, rather than relying on Israrullah. Rizwan promoted himself at number 4 and along with Adil Amin, he added 104 runs for the 4th wicket.

The best partnership of the innings was between Shoaib Malik and Nabi Gul for the 5th wicket as the pair put on 134 runs consuming 94 deliveries. Shoaib Malik was particularly very severe and hit all the bowlers at will. He hit 7 fours and 3 towering sixes in his unbeaten knock of 80 runs, while Nabi was the last man to get out at the personal score of 50.

Shoaib kept the score board ticking and provided much-needed depth to KP middle order, while on the other hand, for the second game in running, it was Kamran Akmal, who was making all the shots, rather than original skipper Umar Akmal, who looked nervous and couldn’t decide what should he do. Bilal Asif and Faheem Ashraf took 2 wickets each conceding 46 and 73 runs respectively.  Both the teams made changes as KP dropped opener Israrullah and pacer M Sami and replaced them with left-arm spinner Kashif Bhatti and Wali Khan, while Punjab dropped Arsal Shaikh and Abdul Rehman Muzammil and replaced them with Saad Nasim and Nasir Nawaz.

It was yet another hot and humid day and crowd kept away in the afternoon session, but ground was somewhat filled by the time evening started. It is expected that tournament organising committee chairman Shakil Shaikh will allow free entry at general stands till the final, as it will ensure hefty crowd, which will add to the beauty of the game.

 

Scoreboard

KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA:

Imran Butt c Kamran Akmal b Bilal            33

Iftikhar Ahmed c & b Bilal             60

Adil Amin c Kamran Akmal b Zulfiqar       43

M Rizwan b Fahim           30

Shoaib Malik not out      80

Nabi Gul c sub b Fahim  52

Zafar Gohar not out        4

EXTRAS: (lb6, w5)             11

TOTAL: (5 wkts; 50 overs)             313

FOW: 1-89, 2-97, 3-171, 4-175, 5-309

BOWLING: Junaid Khan 10-1-76-0, Nasir Nawaz 7-0-49-0, Zulfiqar Babar 9-1-42-1, Bilal Asif 10-1-46-2, Fahim Ashraf 10-0-73-2, Saad Nasim 4-0-21-0

PUNJAB:

Kamran Akmal c Iftikhar b Kashif               57

Salman Butt c Imran b Waqas     4

Umar Amin b Imran        29

Umar Akmal c Kashif b Waqas    77

Saad Nasim lbw b Zafar 13

Hammad Azam run out 9

Fahim Ashraf b Imran     32

Bilal Asif c Shoaib b Imran             27

Nasir Nawaz c Shoaib b Imran     14

Zulfiqar Babar c Zafar b Imran     10

Junaid Khan not out        0

EXTRAS: (lb4, w2)             6

TOTAL: (all out; 46.3 overs)          278

FOW: 1-35, 2-90, 3-97, 4-136, 5-172, 6-216, 7-250, 8-257, 9-278, 10-278

BOWLING: Imran Khan 9.3-0-57-5, Taj Wali 9-0-46-0, Waqas Maqsood 10-0-50-2, Kashif Bhatti 9-0-52-1, Zafar Gohar 3-0-28-1, Iftikhar Ahmed 6-0-41-0

TOSS: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

MAN OF MATCH: Imran Khan (KP)

UMPIRES: Asif Yaqoob, Rashid Riaz

TV UMPIRE: Imtiaz Iqbal

MATCH REFEREE: Iqbal Sheikh