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Watch: Iftikhar Ahmed delivers incredible all-round performance to almost singlehandedly lift National T20 Cup final

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Watch: Iftikhar Ahmed was on fire during the National T20 Cup final between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Central Punjab. His excellent all-round performance ensured that KP routed CP to successfully defend their title.

Iftikhar had been in great form during the tournament with 364 runs and five wickets to his name before the final started. However, the KP skipper – who, at 31, has represented his country 23 times across formats  – was to top all his previous performances in the National T20 Cup final.

He got the day off to a perfect start, winning the toss and inserting CP in to bat. CP lost an early wicket but the experienced pair Kamran Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad built a platform to leave them 80-1 after ten overs. CP would have been eyeing a finish of around 170-180 at this stage, but Khalid Usman soon dismissed Akmal – at the end of 11th over, CP were 87-2.

At this stage, Iftikhar Ahmed replaced the off-colour Asif Afridi and his off-breaks immediately had an impact on the game with Shehzad trying to take him on but only managing to pick out long-off.

Seeing that this tactic had worked, Iftikhar decided to keep himself on for another over. And this proved to be a match-changing decision. In the next over, Saif Badar tried to attack Iftikhar, but the youngster failed to muscle a short of length delivery over the deep mid-wicket fielder.

Off the fourth delivery of the same over, Hussain Talat tried to reverse-sweep one but ended up missing a straight, full delivery. The CP innings fell completely off the rails – finishing on 148 – as Iftikhar finished with remarkable figures of 3-5.

A target of 149 was never going to challenge KP, but Iftikhar ensured that there were to be no hiccups in this chase. He walked out to bat when KP needed 57 runs off 46 balls, and finished the job with three overs to spare. He hit six fours and two sixes in his 19-ball 45.

Take a look at Iftikhar’s enterprising stroke-play from his cameo:

Here is Iftikhar’s winning shot:

 

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