Iftikhar takes Khyber Pakhtunkhwa into final with special knock

Lahore: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s skipper Iftikhar Ahmed played a sublime knock to guide his side to the final of the National T20 Cup here at the Gaddafi Stadium.

The defending champions defeated Northern by five wickets and completed the chase in the last over courtesy of Iftikhar’s 17-ball 45.

Sahibzada Farhan provided a great start to the chase but they lost momentum in the middle. Farhan stroked seven fours and a six for his 53 (39). Last match centurion Kamran Ghulam made 35 (29).

Iftikhar and his partner Khalid Usman put up a 54-run stand of 24 balls, steering KP in final for the straight second time. Iftikhar smashed three massive sixes and four boundaries while Usman hit one six in his 15-run innings.

Earlier, Northern scored 156/8 after being put into bat first by KP’s skipper Iftikhar Ahmed. All batters made smaller contributions as KP bowlers hold them for complete 20 overs.

Openers Nasir Nawaz (27) and Ali Imran (24) posted 48-run partnerships. Skipper Umar Amin and Zeeshan Malik stabilized the innings after both openers were dismissed in quick succession.

Umar made 22 while Zeeshan scored 29. Sohail Tanvir (19) and Aamer Jamal (19) played cameo to lead Northern to a competitive score.

Arshad Iqbal was the pick of the bowlers for KP, picking three wickets while Iftikhar, Usman Khalid and Mohammad Imran claimed a wicket each.

The second semi-final will be played later today between Central Punjab and Sindh at 7.30 pm.