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April 13, 2019

Abid, Sohail help KP regain Pakistan Cup title


April 13, 2019

KARACHI: Abid Ali and Sohail Khan enabled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to regain the title when they defeated Balochistan by nine runs in the day-night final of the Pakistan Cup at the Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi, on Friday.

Abid hammered a superb 132 off 119 balls and Sohail chipped in with a fiery 20-ball 45 not out to enable KP to post a fighting total of 307-7 in the allotted 50 overs. Sohail also showed his class with the leather as he picked 3-75 in ten overs to restrict Balochistan to 298-9.

In the final over, bowled by Wahab Riaz, Balochistan needed 12 runs, but they managed only two. After deciding to bat on a batting-friendly track, KP had a fragile start when right-arm quick Haris Rauf got rid of skipper Salman Butt (2), who edged the ball to stumper Bismillah Khan.

Promising international Abid Ali played a sheet-anchor role. The 31-year-old stayed till the death overs to complete a well-deserved century. Abid, who scored a century on his one-day debut against Australia in the UAE recently, added 136 for the second wicket with Gujranwala-born Mohammad Saad, who fell after making 61-ball 51. Saad hammered five fours and one six in his gutsy knock.

Soon afterwards, Adil Amin (1) and Khushdil Shah (2) fell cheaply, which put pressure on KP. All-rounder Zohaib Khan (27) provided ample support to Abid as the duo put on valuable 42 for the fifth wicket to stabilise the innings.

Zohaib, who was removed by Ali Imran, smacked two fours from 36 balls. Adnan Akmal (14) and Abid tried to score quick runs, but both were removed within the space of three balls, which left KP at 238-6 in 43.2 overs.

Abid hammered 12 fours and three sixes in his sixth List A century. Abid brought in his fifty off 52 balls and his hundred came off 91 deliveries. It seemed that KP would not be able to cross the 300-run mark but Test cricketers Sohail Khan (45*) and Wahab Riaz (22) put on 69 precious runs for the eighth wicket unbroken partnership.

Sohail smacked five huge sixes and one four. Wahab hammered one six and one four from 21 deliveries. Rookie Ali Imran remained impressive with the ball, taking 3-48 in ten overs which included the prized scalp of in-form Khushdil.

Haris Rauf worked hard for 2-41 in ten overs. Balochistan, in reply, lost Zeeshan Ashraf (16) cheaply. But Awais Zia (83) and skipper Asad Shafiq (48) batted solidly and shared 92 for the second wicket.

Asad, who admonished himself after being stumped by Adnan, off the bowling of spinner Zohaib Khan, hammered seven fours from 45 balls. Lanky medium-pacer Umaid Asif then had Umar Akmal (23) to leave Balochistan at 163-3 in the 27th over.

Umar hammered two sixes and one four from 16 balls. Fawad Alam joined Awais but Umaid dismissed the latter to make the game evenly poised. Awais, who was dropped by Adnan off the bowling of Umaid when on 68, smashed ten fours from 94 balls.

Ali Imran hammered a 22-ball 27 with three fours and one six to keep Balochistan's hopes alive. Bismillah Khan got run out after scoring 20 off 23 balls, which included two fours. The wicket-keeper batsman added 44 runs for the sixth wicket with Fawad to keep Balochistan in the hunt.

Sohail lived up to the billing as he got rid of Fawad (48), Haris (8) and Amad Butt (11) in quick succession, shattering Balochistan's hopes for their first crown. Fawad, who was dropped by Sohail off his own bowling when on 41, smashed two fours from 61 balls.

Sohail was ably backed by Umaid who got 2-51 in ten overs. Sohail was declared the Man of the Match for his fine all-round display. The winners KP were handed over a glittering trophy and a purse of Rs2 million with the runners-up Balochistan going away with Rs1 million. Shozab Raza and Ahsan Raza supervised the match. Mohammad Anees was the match referee.

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