RAWALPINDI   -  Majestic Khushdil Shah mad unbeaten 154 off just 96 balls as KP beat Punjab by 4 wickets in a high scoring match in the Pakistan Cup 2019 match played here at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on late Friday night.

Chasing a mammoth target of 342 runs for victory, KP started in worst possible manner and were looking down and out as they lost two wickets with only 12 runs on the board. Abid Ali, who had scored a sensational ton in his debut match against Australia, once again failed miserably, which is a real concern not only for him but for national team as well as his name has been included in the initial World Cup squad.

Abid was removed by Sohail Tanvir without disturbing the scorer and soon it was two down for KP as Zeeshan also was back in the pavilion after scoring only 4 runs. He became Ehsan Adil’s victim. After earl wickets, Muhammad Saad and Adil Amin played sensibly for their 80 runs partnership for third wicket and took KP’s total to 92 before Saad was needlessly run out after scoring 43 runs. Like witnessed so many times in the past that after a long partnership when one wicket fell next follow immediately. Same happened here too as soon after Saad’s departure, Adil followed him and KP lost 4 for 104 and after the addition of just one run Faizan Riaz was also back in the dug-out without troubling the scorers.

It was all lost and KP were on the ropes. Then came the biggest partnership of the country’s domestic history for the 6th wicket as 24-year-old Khushdil and wicketkeeper batsman Adnan Akmal were involved in a massive 229 runs partnership, which was also the biggest ever in a run-chase for the 6th wicket. Both played with lot of authority and thrashed Punjab bowlers to all corners of the park. Khushdil was especially very severe on the bowlers and was in supreme form with the willow.

His shots were crossing the boundary in no time. Khushdil smashed 11 boundaries and 9 massive out of the park sixes. The ball was disappearing as soon it hit the bat of Khusdil. It was highly impressive crowd present inside the stadium that was entertained by Khushdil blitz and credit must be given where it belongs as PCB’s event manager Emmad Hameed, who was first-time picked to administer things at Pindi Stadium, done his job diligently and was looking after the sports journalists, workers, who were never given any importance in the past and was treating them very politely.

Besides Khushdil, it would be very harsh, if Adnan’s contributions are ignored. He played as important knock as Khushdil. Adnan scored 79 valuable match-winning runs consuming 72 balls hitting 9 boundaries and one six. Both took KP very close to victory before Adnan was finally out but Khushdil remained there to take his side home with four wickets and 21 balls to spare. Khsuhdil Shah was named player of the match for his sensational batting display, which mesmerized the crowd. Hussain Talat was the most successful Punjab bowlers with figures of 2-56.

Earlier, KP suffered huge set back, as skipper Salman Butt was out of the match with a stomach bug and Wahab Riaz was stand-in captain, who after winning the toss invited Punjab to bat first a decision, which badly failed as Punjab posted massive 341 for the loss of 6 wickets in 50 overs.

Kamran Akmal and Khurram Mnazoor put on 69 runs for the opening wicket before Kamran was out after contributing 30. Khurram Manzoor was the next to go at the total of 108 after scoring 57. But it was Iftikhar Ahmed who hit a superb 105 off 101 balls hitting 12 fours and one six. He was involved in two 100 plus partnerships. Iftikhar added exactly 100 runs with Sami Aslam, who scored 68 off 63 balls with seven fours and two sixes and 105 runs partnership for the fourth wicket with Saad Ali, who scored 46 off 41 balls with three fours.

Hussain Talat and Rameez Aziz added 27 runs off the last 11 balls without being separated to take Punjab to highly formidable total.

Scorecard

PUNJAB:

Khurram Manzoor c Wahab Riaz b Zohaib Khan 57

Kamran Akmal c Adil Amin b Zohaib Khan 30

Sami Aslam c Zohaib Khan b Sohail Khan 68

Iftikhar Ahmed c Zohaib Khan b Wahab Riaz 105

Saad Ali c Abid Ali b Sohail Khan 46

Sohail Tanvir c Abid Ali b Sohail Khan 0

Hussain Talat not out 12

Rameez Aziz not out 13

EXTRAS: (lb2, w8) 10

TOTAL: (6 wkts; 50 overs) 341

FOW: 1-69, 2-108, 3-208, 4-313, 5-314, 6-314

BOWLING: Sohail Khan 10-0-55-3, Muhammad Musa 9-0-78-0, Zohaib Khan 10-1-72-2, Wahab Riaz 10-0-55-1, Adil Amin 3-0-26-0, Khushdil Shah 8-0-53-0

KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA:

Abid Ali c Kamran Akmal b Sohail Tanvir 0

Zeeshan Malik c Kamran Akmal b Ehsan Adil 4

Mohammad Saad run out 43

Adil Amin lbw b Mohammad Asghar 42

Khushdil Shah not out 154

Faizan Riaz b Hussain Talat 0

Adnan Akmal b Hussain Talat 79

Zohaib Khan not out 5

EXTRAS: (b4, lb3, nb1, w8) 16

TOTAL: (6 wkts; 46.3 overs) 343

FOW: 1-0, 2-14, 3-92, 4-104, 5-105, 6-334

BOWLING: Sohail Tanvir 9-0-41-1, Ehsan Adil 9-1-69-1, Mohammad Asghar 7.3-0-61-1, Hussain Talat 9-1-56-2, Mohammad Irfan jr 8-0-71-0, Iftikhar Ahmed 4-0-38-0

TOSS: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Khushdil Shah

UMPIRES: Ahmed Shahab, Tahir Rasheed

TV UMPIRE: Asif Yaqoob

MATCH REFEREE: Aziz-ur-Rehman