In the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final, played in Faisalabad, Peshawar, by virtue of a crucial sixth wicket partnership of 168 between Akhtar Safraz and Shoaib Khan, was able to earn a first innings lead from Faisalabad, and win the trophy in a rain marred draw.
The graph shows that Wajahatullah Wasti won the toss and put Faisalabad in in cool foggy conditions. At 125/6, it looked an excellent decision, but an 87 run 7th wicket partnership between Captain Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Zaman brought Faisalabad back into the match. Misbah's complete innings consisted of 75 runs off 117 balls in about 2 and a half hours. He had 9 fours and 2 sixes. Zaman had an innings of 35 off 70 balls in 90 minutes, with 5 fours. Together, they dragged Faisalabad from the precipice to 226.
At 59/5 Peshawar were in dire straits. Shahid Nazir was the main destroyer for Faisalabad, taking four of the first five Peshawar wickets. But here the game turned, with Akhtar and Shoaib coming together for the crucial sixth wicket partnership that changed the complexion of the game. Akhtar ended his innings with 95 off 130 balls in three hours and 23 minutes, including 14 fours. Shoaib had a great innings when his team needed it most, 108 priceless runs off 172 balls in a little less than four hours, with 15 fours and one six (he had also taken five catches in Faisalabad's first innings). At the end of the innings, a 53 run lead had been earned by Peshawar.
Faisalabad's second innings was dying out at 162/9 when Ahmed Hayat and Samiullah Khan put on 55 runs and were unbeaten at the end of the third day, increasing Faisalabad's lead from 109 to 164, by no means safe, but at least giving them hope, with the prospect of perhaps adding to the lead the next day.
However day four was completely lost to rain, and play was only possible for 28 overs after tea on day five. Faisalabad immediately declared, but with Peshawar not having to win, Faisalabad's task was impossible. Wajahatullah Wasti moved himself up the order to open for Peshawar, to make sure there would be no last gasp excitement, and they easily saw out the end of the day and match.
Shoaib Khan was man of the match, his 108 and 6 close catches earning him the award, along with 50,000 rupees (452.97 British pounds).
What might have been interesting is if this match had been played under the same rules as the Pura Cup five day domestic final in Australia or the South African SuperSport five day domestic final. Under those rules, the home team (which has earned home field advantage by virtue of topping the points table) must be defeated in order for the visiting team to win the trophy. Under these rules, Faisalabad would have won their second consecutive Q-E-A championship. Instead, Peshawar claimed their second Q-E-A trophy, their first coming in 1998-99 when they defeated Karachi Whites in March 1999 (http://www.pcboard.com.pk/Pakistan/Scorecards/f/43/f43881.html). In that match, as in this, they had to win the title on the road after coming second in the points table. (http://www.pcboard.com.pk/Pakistan/Events/Tables/Quaid-e-Azam_Trophy_1998-99.html).
Finally, this match was strangely forshadowed by the regular season match between the two sides in November, also played at Faisalabad (http://www.pcboard.com.pk/Pakistan/Scorecards/f/47/f47764.html). In that match also, a single large partnership (92 runs, for the third wicket) involving Shoaib Khan (with Ahmed Said) propelled Peshawar to first innings points.
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(Article: Copyright © 2005 Jack Solock)
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