Crushing win for Central Punjab sets up KP-CP final

Iftikhar Ahmed goes on the up
October 12, 2021

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 161 for 5 (Farhan 53, Iftikhar 45*) beat Northern 156 for 8 (Zeeshan 29, Arshad Iqbal 3-35) by 5 wickets

Sahibzada Farhan's half-century followed by a blistering 17-ball 45* from Iftikhar Ahmed saw Khyber Pakhtunkhwa storm into the final of the National T20. The title defenders looked like they might stutter midway through the chase, only for Iftikhar to bail them out.

Put into bat first, Northern had a cautious start, scoring 48 in the Powerplay with no batter really able to capitalise on their start. Nasir Nawaz (27 off 18), Ali Imran (24 off 24), Umar Amin (22 off 18) and Zeeshan Malik (29 off 21) all failed to build on their innings, and Northern looked vulnerable at the 15-over mark, going at under seven an over. But 52 runs were scored in the last five overs to put on enough to give their bowlers something to defend. Arshad Iqbal was most prolific for KP, taking three wickets for 35, while Iftikhar Ahmed kept the runscoring down.

KP started off the pursuit with Farhan played a steady knock to lay a solid foundation with 53 off 39 balls. Kamran Ghulam who scored an unbeaten 110 last night put together a more measured knock, managing 35 off 29. KP were 107-5 when before Zaman Khan and Sohail Tanvir allowed just ten runs in the following two overs, meaning KP required 40 in the final three. But for a dialled in Iftikhar, it proved only too easy. 44 runs were plundered off the next 13 balls as KP sealed their place in tomorrow's final.

Central Punjab 145 for 3 (Kamran Akmal 51, Shehzad 49) beat Sindh 141 for 8 (Manzoor 34, Akram 3-15, Gohar 2-15) by 7 wickets

Central Punjab stormed into the final by beating Sindh in a one-sided affair by seven wickets. They will take on defending champions Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tomorrow at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore.

CP, chasing a moderate target of 142, made a wobbly start, losing Mohammad Akhlaq in the second over, but Ahmed Shehzad (49 off 46) and Kamran Akmal (51 off 36) shared an 88-run stand for the second wicket to keep the pursuit on track. It broke the back of the chase, with Hussain Talat and Qasim Akram finishing the job with more than two overs to spare.

CP had put Sindh into bat first, who made a decent start thanks to aflying start from Sharjeel Khan, who blazed 32 off 19 deliveries. Khurram Manzoor at the other end struggled for fluency, scoring 34 in 40 balls, while the middle order fell apart somewhat cheaply. After stumbling to 107 for 6, Sohail Khan tried to stabilise the innings with 21, while Mir Hamza struck a couple of sixes, but the 141 they managed felt distinctly below par.

Akram and Zafar Gohar were the pick of the bowlers, each conceding just 15 in their allotted four overs, picking up three and two wickets respectively. Those overs of spin told much of the tale of Sindh's struggles to ensure it'll be Central Punjab to try and dethrone KP from pole position in the final tomorrow.

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