Afridi's blitz help Pakistan Probables triumph against Chief Executive XI
Imran Farhat's splendid knock of 138 runs was no way inferior in quality to that of his rival opener Shahid Afridi's blitz of 142, yet the former ended on the losing side only because his team mates did not possess enough experience and temperament to score quickly in the final stages of their innings. They ended up 59 runs short of the target of 320 set for victory by Pakistan Probables, after venturing to field first on a batting pitch at the KRL Stadium in Rawalpindi.
A comparison between the batting exhibitions of the two rival openers would not be out of place at this stage. While Afridi made use of years of experience to lead nothing less then a massacre of the Chief Executive XI's average, or may be slightly above-average attack, Imran Farhat, with not a bit of international experience to help his cause and confronted with a top-class bowling attack, crafted his innings like a mature batsmen.
Had there been a little more experience in the Chief Executive XI's batting line-up, the result of the match would surely have been different. But as it was, they ended up at 260 for three in their 50 overs after an opening stand of 137 between Imran and Taufeeq Umar (58) and then of 70 for the second wicket between Imran and Wasim (34) had laid an excellent foundation for later batsmen's onslaught.
The glittering performances of batsmen aside, full marks, however, to Wasim Akram who juggled his bowlers in arguably the most suitable manner at times when it seemed that Imran Farhat, with his flawless concentration, would run away with the match. He made prompt changes whenever he found his bowlers in trouble, and coming on to bowl himself as and when needed to put much needed breaks on the scoring rate. His field replacements also left little to be required.
Earlier, put into bat by Rashid Latif, the captain of the Chief Executive XI, the opening pair of Shahid Afridi and Imran Nazir (61) made the best possible use of a placid KRL wicket to pile up 156 in only 21.2 overs for the first wicket. This partnership proved sufficient for Pakistan Probables to pass 300 runs in their allotted 50 overs, although none of the remaining batsmen could make worthwhile contributions.
None of the Chief Executive XI's bowlers had a good day simply because Afridi had gone on the rampage since the word go. Yasir Arafat got two wickets, whereas Naved-ul-Hasan and Faisal Afridi claimed one each, but they proved a bit too expensive.
The Chief Executive of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharif, presided over the prize distribution ceremony after the match. Besides conferring the winner and losers' check to the captains of both teams, he gave away the man of the match award to Imran Farhat. Saleem Elahi was declared the best fielder of the match.