Peshawar Region has won the 12th Domestic T20 Cup of Pakistan after beating Karachi Region by 7 wickets in the final, and has defended the title. The last tournament was also won by Peshawar when they defeated Lahore Lions in a low-scoring contest by 7 wickets. Victory has much significance for the fact that Peshawar's line-up had only two international players while Karachi Region had only two non-international players. Karachi was playing their 5th final of Pakistan's T20 tournament and now has lost all five.
Zohaib Khan, the captain of Peshawar Region won the toss and sent Sarfraz Ahmad-lead-Karachi Region to bat first in the final. Peshawar got their first wicket in the very first over when Shahzaib Hasan was bowled out by Imran Khan. However, a 50-run partnership between Khurram Manzoor and Khalid Latif gave the team impetus it required for the later overs.
By the end of 9th over, Karachi lost their third wicket at 83. Quick wickets of Asad Shafiq and Shahid Afridi in the next few overs reduced Karachi 105 for 5 in 13 overs. Sarfaraz Ahmad, played the captain's knock when it was required of him by scoring a 26-ball 47. Karachi ended up posting a target of 178 runs for Peshawar to win.
Rizwan rises to occasion
In reply, Peshawar assaulted right from the start when their opener Rafatullah thrashed Karachi bowlers all over the park. When he eventually fell for 43 off 23 balls, Peshawar were on 48 in 4.4 overs. Two wickets fell in 6th and 9th over, and after 10 overs, Peshawar required exactly 100 from last 10. Pakistan's international keeper Muhammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmad started to build up a partnership.
Rizwan's quick runs complimented the slow-scoring rate of Iftikhar and they kept creeping towards the target. Interestingly, the last ball of each of the six overs from 12 to 17 featured a boundary. Requiring 64 from last six overs, both batsman launched the final strike. With Rizwan leading in the offence and Iftikhar joining him in the cause, Peshawar made light of the target and took the equation to 11 off 12 balls. Two fours in the 19th over saw Peshawar home and with them went the trophy.
It was Peshawar's 2nd appearance in the final and they have converted the appearance into the title both times. Interestingly, last time they won it without having any international name against Lahore Lions, a team which had been as much loaded with international stars as Karachi was today.
Muhammad Rizwan for his match-winning knock was adjudged the man of the final.