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LAHORE: Peshawar defeated Karachi Whites by five wickets to be crowned champions of the Pakistan Cup 2023-24.

Sahibzada Farhan-led Peshawar bowled out Sarfaraz Ahmed-captained Karachi Whites for 103 and subsequently chased the target in 17.2 over to win the final held at Pindi Cricket Stadium. Before this, Peshawar last won their national List A title in the 2016-2017 seasons. This is Peshawar’s third List A title and overall the sixth national one-day cup title for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the most by any region.

Peshawar cruised to the final on the back of five wins from seven matches. They only lost one match against FATA by eight wickets during the league stage of the tournament, while their match against Lahore Whites was abandoned without a ball bowled. During the round-robin stage, the side defeated Karachi Whites by seven wickets, Rawalpindi by a run, Multan by four wickets, Lahore Blues by six wickets and Faisalabad by 68 runs (DLS). Consequently, Peshawar topped the points table finishing at 11 points.

Karachi Whites and Multan, with nine points each, were second and third on the table and FATA, with eight points, ended the round-robin stage on the fourth spot. Rawalpindi, despite equaling FATA’s tally of eight points, lost out on a semi-final spot owing to inferior net run rate (NRR).

Peshawar defeated FATA by 44 runs in the semi-final and obliterated Karachi Whites in the final to take home the coveted trophy. Peshawar dismissed Karachi Whites for 103, which is the lowest first-innings total for any List A final in Pakistan. The target was chased with five wickets in hand and 166 balls remaining.

Top performers of the season:

A total of 12,059 runs were scored in 31 matches of the Pakistan Cup 2023-24. The tournament saw eight centuries and 56 half-centuries, 1,075 boundaries and 269 maximums. A total of 419 wickets fell, including four five-wicket hauls and nine four-wicket hauls.

Karachi Whites opening batter Saim Ayub was the leading run-getter of the tournament. He made 397 runs in eight games, including a century and a half-century. His match-winning knock of 179 against Rawalpindi at Pindi Cricket Stadium was the highest individual score of the tournament. Saim also hit the most fours in the tournament with 42 boundaries to his name.

Peshawar’s Adil Amin had four half-centuries in eight games, the most by any batter in the tournament. Multan’s 21-year-old Haseebullah and 34-year-old Sharjeel Khan both had two centuries each, while Karachi Whites’ Shan Masood, Rawalpindi’s Abdul Faseeh, and Lahore Blues’ Imran Butt scored a century each.

Haseebullah was named the player of the tournament for his extraordinary performances with the bat and gloves alike. He scored 326 runs in seven matches, including two centuries and a half-century, as well as 10 dismissals behind the stumps. Sharjeel, meanwhile, smashed the most sixes in the tournament with 19 of his hits going beyond the boundary rope in seven matches.

Peshawar’s right-arm pacer Mohammad Abbas Afridi and Multan’s leg-spinner Zahid Mehmood were the joint-highest wicket-takers of the tournament. Both bowlers returned with 15 wickets each in seven matches. Abbas had an average of 15 with season-best figures of 3-20 while Zahid’s wickets came at an average of 16.87, with season-best figures of 4-44.

The best individual bowling figures of the tournament were registered by Hunain Shah when the Lahore Blues pacer took 6-26 against Faisalabad at Pindi Cricket Stadium. Hunain ended the season with 11 wickets at 17.91 in six matches. Lahore Whites’ Ahmed Daniyal, FATA’s Usman Khan Shinwari and Faisalabad’s Arshad Iqbal also claimed a five-wicket haul each. Faisalabad’s Khurram Shahzad had two four, the most by any bowler in the Pakistan Cup this season. Multan’s Muhammad Imran and Zahid Mehmood, Peshawar quartet Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Ilyas, Azam Khan and Kamran Ghulam, and Karachi Whites’ Sohail Khan all claimed a four-wicket haul each as well.

Karachi Whites registered the highest total of the season when they scored 364-7 against Rawalpindi at Shoaib Akhtar Cricket Stadium. The lowest total of the season also came in a Karachi Whites’ innings when they were dismissed for 103 against Peshawar in the final at Pindi Cricket Stadium. Faisalabad’s win over Lahore Whites by 102 runs at Pindi Cricket Stadium was the biggest margin of victory by virtue of runs. The highest margin of victory by wickets came when Karachi Whites and FATA won by eight wickets against Lahore Whites and Peshawar, respectively.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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