Karachi, Sep 16: In what seems to be a clear shift of power in Pakistan cricket, underdogs Peshwar overcame the much-fancied Karachi Blues by seven wickets to clinch the National T20 Championship for a second consecutive time.
Bereft of big names, Peshawar made light of the 178-run chase to win the final by seven balls to spare. Peshawar just lost a single league game in the entire competition.
Young wicketkeeper-batsman Muhammad Rizwan was the star of the evening on Tuesday, scoring an unbeaten 58 to feature in a 100-run stand with Ifthikar Ahmed, who also scored 57 not out.
The Peshawar outfit's win was all the more heartening since they had lost some of their major players who normally represented them in the past but appeared for other teams notably Umar Gul, Younis Khan and Yasir Hameed under a free transfer window policy of the cricket board.
Pakistan's national T20 captain Shahid Afridi and his deputy Sarfaraz Ahmed, who was leading the Karachi side, left the field with disappointment written on their faces as they were favourites to win the title - a feat they have not achieved despite qualifying for the finals six times.
Afridi, who joined the Karachi team late, failed to inspire them with his performances scoring just 15 and taking one wicket in the final, which was watched by a full house at the Pindi cricket stadium.
The highlight, apart from the on-field performances in the final, was also the long conversation between PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan and for speedster Shoaib Akhtar, which added to the rumours that the board was going to appoint him as an advisor.
The tournament though proved to be a disappointment for all the favourite sides with top players including the Lahore Whites outfit which had the services of Muhammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz and Rawalpindi led by Sohail Tanvir.
The results only confirmed that there had been a shift in the balance of power in Pakistan cricket with the big sides like Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad no longer able to match the enthusiasm and fearless approach of comparatively weaker outfits like Peshawar, Multan and Abbotabad.