Five-wicket Shaheen Afridi bowls KP to first win in National T20 Cup
Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrates with teammates after taking a wicket. PCB
Shaheen Shah Afridi showed why he is one of the most sought-after bowlers in world cricket after he returned a five wicket haul to steer pre-event favourites Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to a comfortable eight wickets victory over last year’s runners-up Balochistan in the fifth match of the National T20 Cup in front of PCB cameras on Friday afternoon.
Shaheen caused early inroads and then returned in the death overs to finish with figures of 4-0-20-5 to restrict Balochistan to 152 for nine after they had elected to bat first. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa top-order then milked Balochistan’s bowling to race to victory in 17 overs for the loss of two wickets.
It was a good bounce back by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after they had suffered a 79-run defeat against defending champions Northern in a tall-scoring match on Wednesday. Balochistan will have a chance to avenge for this loss when they will again meet Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Rawalpindi on 10 October.
Shaheen stole the third day honours after Pakistan’s young batting guns had dominated the first two days of the 33-match competition. Shaheen removed Imam-ul-Haq (9) and Awais Zia (24) in his first spell and then returned to dismiss Ammad Butt (4), Yasir Shah (0) and Umaid Asif (7) as Balochistan managed 37 runs in the last five overs to finish at 152 for nine.
Reflecting on his and his team performance, Shaheen Shah Afridi said: “I am very pleased with my performance and want to thank Allah for my success. I enjoy my bowling, I try hard wherever I play, in the first match we didn’t have an idea that the pitch will be so flat, in the second game today we changed our plans and worked out what length to bowl on the pitch and I am happy we got success with the strategy.”
Shaheen was well supported by fellow left-armer Usman Shinwari who picked up two wickets but went for 48 runs.
For Balochistan, Imran Butt finished as the top-scorer with a 32-ball 37, while Haris Sohail (29) and Awais Zia (24) were the other contributors.
In their 153-run chase, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa openers Mohammad Rizwan (57 not out) and Fakhar Zaman (25) provided a 44-run start in less than five overs, before Rizwan and Mohammad Hafeez (45, 25b, 5x4, 3x6) added 66 runs for the second wicket.
Rizwan returned unbeaten on 57, an innings that came off 42 balls and included five four and two sixes. Iftikhar Ahmed (27) was the other not out batsmen as the third wicket put on 47 runs in 30 balls.
Balochistan: 152-9, 20 overs (Imran Butt 37, Haris Sohail 29, Awais Zia 24; Shaheen Shah Afridi 5-20, Usman Shinwari 2-48)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 157-2, 17 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 57 not out, Mohammad Hafeez 45, Iftikhar Ahmed 29 not out, Fakhar Zaman 25)
RESULT: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa won by eight wickets
Player of the match: Shaheen Shah Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)