Sialkot win T20 Cup for sixth time
Sialkot 180 for 6 (Qaiser Abbas 44, Shoaib Malik 43) beat Rawalpindi 170 for 8 (Naved Malik 67, Raza Hasan 2-11) by 10 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
In a final that was tight until the last two overs, Sialkot's 180 proved a little too much for Rawalpindi to chase at the National Stadium in Karachi, and Sialkot won the Faysal Bank T20 Cup for the sixth time. Almost all Sialkot's top-order batsmen contributed to their imposing total. The decisive over was the 19th in Rawalpindi's chase, in which Raza Hasan conceded just four runs and took two wickets, to swing the match Sialkot's way.
Sialkot chose to bat on a pitch that produced high scores through the tournament and made a quick start. Imran Nazir and Shakeel Ansar looted 13 runs off Soahil Tanvir's first over, and after Nazir departed Ansar and Qaiser Abbas put together 85 for the second wicket. Rawalpindi's bowlers bowled full lengths, and Qaiser timed his drives sweetly. The pair took the score to 100 for 1 in the 12th over, but both batsmen fell in the space of five balls, to Awais Zia's part-time offspin. Both went attempting big shots: Qaiser was stumped after charging down the track and Ansar chipped in the air to deep midwicket.
That brought Shoaib Malik and Shahid Yousuf together, fresh from a 127-run stand in the semi-finals against Lahore. Yousuf hit the first three balls of Zia's next over into the off side for fours, and Malik continued the form he was in during his 88 not out against Lahore. Rawalpindi did well to concede just 10 runs off the last two overs, but 180 was a tough total to chase.
The chase got off to an explosive start, with Zia smacking five fours in the first over, and two sixes in the second. Zia's innings was cut short on 32 off 13 balls, when he swept Hasan to deep square leg. While other bowlers struggled to concede fewer than seven runs an over, Hasan had figures of 4-0-11-2. He choked the runs by varying the flight and lengths of his deliveries while maintaining a tight line.
The rest of Sialkot's bowlers weren't as accurate and Rawalpindi's opener Naved Malik picked his moments to attack. Rawalpindi managed to stay abreast of the required-rate for most of the chase but lost wickets regularly. When Naved was caught at deep midwicket for 67, Rawalpindi needed 36 off 23 balls with five wickets in hand. In the 17th over, Hammad Azam smashed a six over long-on and lofted over extra-cover for four off consecutive balls. Nineteen were required off the last two overs, but it was Hasan that had had the final say, bowling a tight over to ensure a Sialkot win.