Sunday Oct 18, 2020
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's greater experience and firepower proved the difference as they became the 2020 National T20 Cup champions by defeating Southern Punjab by 10 runs in the final on Sunday night at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.
KP had beaten Southern Punjab in both their round-robin matches and their third encounter proved no different. The mismatch was evident from the very start as KP, having been invited to bat first, found a 76-run opening stand from Fakhar Zaman (67) and Mohammad Rizwan (25) - a start from which they never looked like losing.
They did go a bit slow in the middle overs and were 133-3 at the end of 16 overs but then Shoaib Malik, out of form for much of the tournament, finally found his scoring bat as he contributed a 22-ball 56 and helped KP bleed SP for 73 runs in the last four overs.
Unlike KP, SP's innings was off the the worse possible start. They were 3-34 by the sixth over and if it wasn't for Khushil Shah (34) and Hussain Talat's (63) 74-run partnership, the final would not even have been close.
But just when it looked the duo would take the game to the wire at the very least, Rizwan tossed the ball to Usman Shinwari and Wahab Riaz - two of his many internationally capped bowling options - who dismissed Khushdil and Talat respectively. Once those two departed, it was practically game over.
The lower order did play some strokes and cleared the fence more than a few times but and in the end came as close as 196-8 but the target was always out of their reach.