Rehan’s half-century, Sarwar’s 37 take Khyber Pakhtunkhwa into final

MULTAN (Monitoring Desk): A 89-run opening wicket partnership between Sahibzada Farhan and Rehan Afridi and 37 runs from Mohammad Sarwar Afridi at the crucial juncture of the match saw defending champions Khyber Pakhtunkhwa through to the final after beating Northern by five wickets with one over to spare in the first semi-final of the Kingdom Valley National T20 2022-23 at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
Monday’s final will be the third final for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in as many years – that had previously won both finals.
Chasing 165 to win, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa openers Farhan and Rehan provided a flying start to the innings as both right-handed batters scored 57 runs in the powerplay. Wicketkeeper-batter Rehan struck seven fours and one six and top-scored with a 39-ball 54. Farhan – who scored a match winning century against Balochistan the previous day in the 29th fixture of the tournament – scored 39 off 29 balls today, striking two sixes and one four.
For Northern, Zaman Khan struck twice in the 16th over of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s batting when he accounted for Kamran Ghulam (eight off nine) and Adil Amin (three off three) to give a glimpse of hope to Northern – that had staged a perfect comeback last evening against Southern Punjab to qualify for the semi-final. But sensible batting from Sarwar (37, 28b, three fours, one six) helped Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to achieve the target in the 19th over.
Earlier, Northern managed 164 for four after opting to bat first. Opening batter Nasir Nawaz was amongst the runs again as he top-scored with 72 off 55 balls, smashing five fours and three sixes. Taimoor Sultan and Nasir stitched a 42-run partnership for the first wicket. After the departure of Taimoor, the right-handed Nasir was joined by his captain Umar Amin (32, 26b, three fours, one six) and the pair added 70 in 52 balls.
Arshad Iqbal was the most successful Khyber Pakhtunkhwa bowler with two for 34, while Mohammad Abbas Afridi and captain Khalid Usman scooped a wicket each.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will face the winners of the second semi-final between Central Punjab and Sindh.
Scores in brief:
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa beat Northern by five wickets
Northern 164-4, 20 overs (Nasir Nawaz 72, Umar Amin 32; Arshad Iqbal 2-34)
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 165-5, 19 overs (Rehan Afridi 54, Sahibzada Farhan 39, Mohammad Sarwar Afridi 37; Zaman Khan 2-24)
Player of the match – Rehan Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)