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Quaid-E-Azam Trophy | Final | Iftikhar Ahmed leads KPK to record fifth domestic title in two years

It was routine work by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the Quaid-E-Azam Trophy 2021 final as it defeated Northern and won yet another final and its record fifth domestic title in as many competitions in the last two years, becoming the first-ever side to be able to do that. 

The day-night Test first of its kind for a domestic or international game in Pakistan lasted for full five days as Northern were eventually all out in only the 46th over, chasing a target of 384 on the last day. There was no other option for Northern but to go for the kill as they were trailing in the game on the basis of the first inning’s lead. 

Sajid Khan was among the wickets for the KPK side as he took a five-wicket haul in the innings to add to his tally of four wickets from the first innings in the game. It was his five-wicket haul that actually finished the job. But it was started by his captain Iftikhar Ahmed as he broke the second wicket partnership between the triple centurion from the previous game, Mohammad Huraira and Northern skipper Umar Amin. 

After the end of that 78 run stand between the two, there wasn’t much resistance from others. 

Earlier in the game, Riding on Iftikhar’s century, KPK scored 374 runs in the first innings. The skipper was helped by a 68 from Asif Afridi and 45 from opener Ashfaq Ahmed. For Northern Apart from Huraira’s, Sarmad Bhatti’s and Haider Ali’s fifties, no other batter was able to put in much effort and as a result, they rolled over for 256 in their first innings. 

In their second innings, KPK were helped by fifty from experienced Fakhar Zaman at the top and a quickfire 79 from wicketkeeper batter Rehan Afridi. Courtesy of those two innings, the team from the North-West part of Pakistan managed to get to 265 and set a target of 384 for Northern to chase in the last innings. 

This is the fifth title for KPK in the five tournaments they have played in the last two seasons. They won the Quaid-E-Azam Trophy for the 2020 edition as well as they shared it with Central Punjab. Along with it, they won back to back National T20 titles in the year 2020 and 2021 and also won the 50-over competition, the Pakistan Cup’s 2020-21 edition. 

If they are able to win the 2021-22 edition of the One Day tournament, then they would become the first team to complete the triplet of winning all formats of domestic tournaments twice.

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