Photo Credit: Pakistan Cricket Board
The Kingdom Valley National T20 Cup 2022-23 ended last night in front of a packed Multan Cricket Stadium with the Saud Shakeel-led Sindh winning the title for the first time beating defending champions Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by eight wickets in the final on Monday evening.
Below are some of the highlights of the tournament at two venues – Rawalpindi and Multan.
Maiden title for Sindh
Sindh under the young leadership of Pakistan’s international Saud made a remarkable turnaround to clinch the title. After losing half of their six matches played at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in the Rawalpindi leg, Sindh went on to win two of their remaining four matches at the Multan Cricket Stadium to qualify for the semi-final.
Multan turned into a happy hunting venue for Sindh, as they won both encounters against the two-time winners Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – one in the group stage and second in an all-important final on Monday evening. They had lost to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Rawalpindi by six wickets.
Saim Ayub – a star in the making
The 20-year old left-handed opening batter Saim Ayub has emerged as a start after being a consistent part of the PCB organised age-group camps and tournaments in recent years. He featured for Karachi U16 against Peshawar U16 in the PCB-PEPSI Stars U16 One-Day Tournament 2016-17. He went on to score 271 runs from nine outings in the tournament which included two half-centuries at a strike rate of 109.72.
In 2018, Saim went on to feature in a bilateral series for Pakistan U16 against Australia U16 and topped the batting charts with 225 runs from five 50-over matches which included one century and a half-century. He went on to feature in U19 tournaments and from there made his HBL PSL debut in 2021 edition for Quetta Gladiators.
In the Kingdom Valley National T20 Cup 2022-23, Sindh’s Saim was declared the player of the tournament – scoring 416 runs from 12 matches at a stunning strike rate of 155.22. He hit 19 sixes and smashed 48 fours – the most by any batter in the tournament.
Age is just a number for Sohail Khan
The 38-year old Sohail Khan – who has represented Pakistan in 27 international matches (nine Tests, 13 ODIs, five T20Is) was the most prolific bowler in the tournament. The right-arm fast bowler was named the best bowler of the tournament as he accounted for 21 batters from 10 matches. His four for 18 in the final – which included the prized scalp of Sahibzada Farhan (four off two) – the top run getter of the tournament set the platform for Sindh last night.
Consistency from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Sahibzada Farhan
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Sahibzada Farhan – was a driving force behind his team’s title win in the last edition with 447 runs at an average of 40.63 and a strike-rate of 132.24 which also included three 50s. In this edition, the right-handed opener was awarded the best batter of the tournament with 429 runs from 12 matches at a strike rate of 132.41. The 27-year old batter scored one century and one half-century, with the help of 16 sixes and 42 fours.
Salman Ali Agha picks five-for with his off-spin
Southern Punjab’s captain Salman Ali Agha did well with the ball, he took five for 10 against Central Punjab – the only five-for in the tournament. Central Punjab were bowled out for paltry 79 in 14.3 overs chasing 166 to win in the eighth fixture of the tournament at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.
Highest partnership between Northern’s Mohammad Huraira and Nasir Nawaz
The highest partnership of the tournament came from Northern’s young duo of Mohammad Huraira and Nasir Nawaz. The pair knitted a 132-run partnership for the opening wicket off 82 balls. The 20-year old Huraira struck 13 fours and one six during his 52-ball 86, while the 24-year old Nasir smashed two fours and as many sixes in his knock of 35-ball 47. It was also the highest aggregate match, a total of 379 runs were scored, Sindh fell short of the target by one run.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa score the highest total; Central Punjab score the lowest total
The runner-ups of this edition Khyber Pakhtunkhwa scored 201 for five against Balochistan – Highest score of the tournament. The record was made at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in the 15th fixture where Khyber Pakhtunkhwa defeated Balochistan by 27 runs.
Central Punjab registered the lowest score of the tournament when they were bowled out for 79 in 14.3 overs against Southern Punjab in pursuit of a 166-run target.
Sindh’s Asif Mehmood hat-trick against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Sindh’s right-arm fast Asif Mehmood accomplished a hat-trick against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa when he sent Niaz Khan (six off two), Mohammad Sarwar Afridi (14 off nine) and Mohammad Imran (first ball duck) back to the pavilion to claim his and tournament’s only hat-trick in the 20th over of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s batting.