RAWALPINDI-Khurram Manzoor was the star, as Punjab thumped Sindh by 6 wickets in the Pakistan Cup 2019 last league match played here at Pindi Stadium on late Thursday night.

It was all about the brilliance of right-handed batsman Khurram Manzoor, who once again reminded PCB about his great talent and class. It was Khurram’s 24th list A century, which ensured Punjab a smooth sailing. Punjab were chasing a decent target of 296 runs for win and it was Khurram and Kamran, who opened the innings for Punjab. But soon Punjab suffered a huge setback when skipper Kamran Akmal was sent packing at a total of 55 in 9.3 overs. Kamran scored 26 with the help of 5 boundaries.

Sami Aslam joined Khurram and it was a massive 139-run second-wicket stand. Although Sami played well and scored 54 studded with 5 fours and one six yet it was all about sheer brilliance of Khurram, who successfully guided Punjab to well-deserving victory.

Khurram has shown Mickey Arthur and chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq that there are more options than Imam and Pakistan is blessed to have so many talented cricketers, who, if given proper chances, can resolve the batting woes of national team. During his classic knock, Khurram consumed 116 deliveries to impressive 168, the highest score of the tournament so far. He smashed 23 boundaries and 4 towering sixes.

In-form Iftikhar Ahmed, who also remained highly unfortunate not to be considered by the selectors for England ODIs, also lost his wicket at a total of 276-3 and just when Punjab were ready to cheer for their victory, Khurram lost the wicket at 168. Punjab needed just 10 runs for win with 13 overs left and the target was achieved in 38.2 overs. Saad Ali and Fahad Iqbal made unbeaten 8 and 5 runs respectively. Youngster Muhammad Ilyas took 2 wickets for 64, while Aamer Yamin and Nauman Ali got one wicket apiece. Khurram emerged as player of the match.

Earlier, Sindh skipper Uamr Gul won the toss and opted to bat first. Sindh got off to decent start, as they posted 44 before Sahibzada Farhan departed after scoring 20. Ahsan Ali was the next to go after contributing just 4 and Umar Siddiq also left after scoring 38. It was superb fourth-wicket stand between Pindi boy Test-discard Umer Amin and Asif Ali, who put on 123 runs. Umer Amin scored 83 off 85 balls hitting 4 fours and as many sixes, while Asif Ali slammed 62 off 41 balls studded with 7 fours and 3 sixes.

Just when it seemed Sindh would post a massive total, both Asif and Umer lost their wickets. Hammad Azam gave Sindh total some respectability as he contributed 42, smashing 1 four and 3 sixes while Hasan struck 16 and Umar Gul 14 as Sindh piled up a total of 295-9 in allotted overs. Sohail Tanvir bagged 3 wickets for 17 while Fahad Iqbal captured 3-44, Waleed Ahmed 2-55 and M Asghar got 1-73.

It was once again highly impressive crowd gathered at Pindi Stadium. It was quite nice to witness families thronging the stadium in huge numbers, while the security, at the main entrance and road leading towards the stadium, was very cooperative. Fortunately, the PCB media team was not only very humble, but also dealing the journalists very politely and doing their job very professionally.