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The impressive performances that lifted Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

A look at how top performers in the Pakistan Cup fared

Ahmed Shehzad was consistent with the bat throughout the tournament but struggled with disciplinary issues  •  PCB

Ahmed Shehzad was consistent with the bat throughout the tournament but struggled with disciplinary issues  •  PCB


Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa team, representing a northern province in the country, won their fourth domestic title in the last two years when they beat Punjab in the final of the Pakistan Cup. The side remained focused despite the controversy surrounding their captain Younis Khan, who left the team briefly to protest a 50% fine imposed on him.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lost their opening match to Islamabad but their two-run win over Punjab proved to be a turning point. They went on to win their remaining league matches - against Balochistan and Sindh - before thrashing Punjab by 151 runs in the final.
Ahmed Shehzad and Fakhar Zaman shepherded the batting while seamer Zia-ul-Haq, left-arm spinner Zohaib Khan and legspinner Yasir Shah were pick of the bowlers. Younis returned for the final against Punjab, scoring 49 off 59 balls in the team's total of 311 for 9.


The team, which represents a province that is home to nearly 60% of Pakistan's population, was led by Shoaib Malik. They had a formidable batting and bowling line-up but did not live up to expectations. They lost twice to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, chasing 263 and 312. Their most convincing performance came in a low-scoring match against Sindh, which they won by five wickets to qualify for the final.

Best batsmen

Ahmed Shehzad (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
Shehzad was the highest run-getter in the tournament with 372 runs at an average of 74.40, and a century and three fifties. His dot-ball problem was a talking point during Pakistan's World T20 campaign but in this tournament, he enjoyed good form and went past the 4000-run mark in List-A games. Despite the rich form, Shehzad had disciplinary issues in the tournament, and this played a part in his exclusion from the national training camp for the England tour.
Fakhar Zaman (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
Born in the town of Mardan, in the northern region of the country, Zaman has played most of his cricket in Karachi. The left-handed batsman was the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament with 297 runs in five innings at 59.40, including a knock of 115 that set up Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's 151-run win in the final. His ability to bowl left-arm spin makes him a utility player and he is in contention for a place in the national side after appearances for Pakistan A.
Khalid Latif (Sindh)
The former Pakistan Under-19s captain was the third-highest run-getter, with 252 runs in four games at an average of 126. His best in the tournament was a 129-ball 168*, which nearly carried Sindh to victory in a chase of 320 against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Although he has won call-ups to the one-day and T20 sides, he has failed to convert his domestic form into more substantial scores in international cricket. He was recently picked for the national training camp.

Best bowlers

Mohammad Amir (Sindh)
Mohammad Amir's remarkable progress since his return to cricket from a ban for spot-fixing was also on display in this tournament. He took 11 wickets in four matches, including his maiden List A five-for. His team, Sindh, however, won only two of their four games and finished third on the table.
Zohaib Khan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
The left-arm spinner, aged 32, also picked up 11 wickets, at an average of 16.63 and was selected in the probables squad for the national camp. In September last year, he captained Peshawar Region to the Haier T20 Cup title, beating Karachi Blues in the final. He reached the 100-wicket mark in List A cricket recently and has scored over a thousand runs in the format.
Zia-ul-Haq (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
Tall, thin and athletic, Zia-ul-Haq hails from Vehari, a small town in Punjab that is also the birthplace of former Pakistan fast bowler Waqar Younis. His series haul of 10 wickets at 17.70 was a major driving force for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as was his ability to contain runs and provide vital breakthroughs. Zia, 21, has emerged through the Under-19 set-up. He took 11 wickets for Pakistan Under-19s in the 2012 World Cup and nine in the 2014 edition.

A quiet run

Salman Butt (Punjab)
Butt's chances of reviving his career after the spot-fixing ban depended on his performances in this tournament, but he disappointed with 135 runs in five matches at an average of 27. His performances in the National One Day Cup earlier this year, where he finished as the second-highest run-getter with 536 runs, had generated interest but he failed to capitalize on the opportunity presented in this tournament.
Shoaib Malik (Punjab)
Shoaib Malik had yet another quiet domestic tournament. He led Punjab to the final but his own contributions, with bat and ball, were ordinary. He scored 99 runs at 19.80 in five games and took five wickets.

New face

Imam-ul-Haq (Islamabad)
The inclusion of the 20-year-old nephew of Pakistan's new chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq may have raised some eyebrows but Imam smacked a century for Islamabad in the only game he played to quash doubts over his ability. Imam is seen as one of Pakistan's emerging players and has represented the Under-19s side in the 2012 and 2014 World Cups. He was not part of the Islamabad squad initially but was brought in to replace Misbah-ul-Haq, who took a break for personal reasons.