PESHAWAR - Shahid Afrid’s quick unbeaten 66 guided Pakistan Peace XI to a dramatic five-wicket victory against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Peace XI in the Twenty20 Peace Cricket Match played here at jam-packed Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
Boom boom Afrid smashed 19-ball unbeaten 66 runs with the help of seven huge sixes and five cracking boundaries. Thousands of cheering up spectators thronged the stadium before the start of the match. They clapped, whistled and raised slogans to support the players. Majority of the viewers were youngsters, even a good number of girls and children were also present there. Some of the spectators also complained the lacking facilities at the venue.
There was thundering applause at the jam-packed stadium, when Afridi came to the crease before the team lost three wickets for 102 runs but the batting of Afridi steered Pakistan Peace XI team led by left-arm star bowler Abdul Qadir to a comfortable five wickets victory.
Afridi was ably supported by dashing wicketkeeper batsman promising M Rizwan who made 40-ball 54 runs with six fours and two sixes. M Fawad Alam played a key knock of 27 runs with three fours. For Inzamamul Haq-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Peace XI, bowler Abdul Rauf took two wickets for 22 runs while Shoaib Akhtar, Akram Raza and Rana Naveedul got one wicket each.
Earlier, KP Peace XI skipper Izamam, opting to bat first, set up a good target of 181 runs for the loss of six wickets after playing the allotted 20 overs. Salim Malik was the star of the day who smashed cracking 51 runs off 27 balls with six fours and two sixes while Shahzeb Hasan added 46, M Yousaf 37 and Imran Nazim 27 runs. Inzamam made only three runs. For Pakistan Peace XI, Afridi clinched two wickets for 29 while Abdul Razzaq claimed two wickets for 34, Khalil one for 24 and Fawad Alam one for 16 runs.
Losing two wickets for 32 runs in seven overs, Fawad and Rizwan provided 50-run partnership for the third wicket but when Fawad was declared as retired hurt, Afridi took the charge and smashed some superb shorts before Umar Gul (7) and Abdul Razaaq (5) gone to the dressing rooms.
Cricket-turned politician and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan was the chief guest at the occasion and gave away a cheque of Rs 100,000 to winning caption Abdul Qadir and match of the match award to Afridi.
Speaking on the occasion, Khan said: “Sports stadiums will be constructed in all the districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. We will also hold a talent hunt programme at U-17 level to hunt and groom the youth of the province.”
He said sport playing facilities would also be provided to the youth of FATA. “There is no dearth of talent but such talent has been deprived of key playing facilities. We want to bring that talent in the main stream by providing them modern day coaching. The purpose of holding this match is to show the world that the people of KPK are peace loving and want peace,” Khan concluded.