Tayyab Tahir and Sufiyan Muqeem performed exceptionally to take Pakistan A over the finish line against India A in a one-sided affair in the final of the ACC Men's Emerging Teams Asia Cup 2023 on Sunday.
With the thumping 128-run win, Pakistan A lifted the trophy for the second year running, after India A was earlier projected as the favourites.
The Indian team showed their grit in the opening stages of their innings, however, fell behind after losing the first wicket with eight overs gone.
The opening pair was averaging a boundary every over till the sixth over of the Indian batting innings, however, their rhythm was broken by Mubasir Khan after which a wicket was destined to fall.
Arshal Iqbal capitalised in the next over to dismiss Sai Sudharsan for 29 runs off 28 deliveries. At the end of powerplay, India A stood at 69 runs for the loss of one wicket.
The Indian side was handed their second blow after Mohammad Wasim Jr got Nikin Jose out for 11 off 15 balls. Yash Dhull came in to steady the innings and managed to build up a partnership with opener Abhishek Sharma.
The pair survived till the 20th over and looked good. After being stuck for a maximum, Sufiyan Muqeem exacted his revenge to send Abhishek Sharma packing for 61 runs off 51 balls.
Yash Dhull could only watch on as his partner Nishant Sindhu gave away his wicket before he himself got sent home to put India in a perilous position.
Except for leaking runs in the first over, India's inability to build a partnership became one of their biggest downfall as each batting pair struggled to put up a decent stand. The struggling Indian team managed to reach 40 overs and put up a total of 224.
Earlier in the innings, Pakistan openers Sahibzada Farhan and Saim Ayub got off to a steady start and put 50 runs on the scoreboard without losing any wickets, off 8.3 overs.
Once set, they accelerated the scoring rate to almost 7 runs per over. They reached the 100-run mark without any loss of wickets. Farhan brought up the 100-run partnership with a huge six off Suthar in the 15th over.
Ayub reached his fifty in style, hitting a classy drive to the fence off Rana. Farhan also brought up his fifty in the same over. Suthar, however, made a comeback of sorts in his second spell, dismissing a well-set Saim Ayub for 59 in the 18th over.
Omair Yousuf, who arrived at the crease at the fall of Ayub's wicket, looked in fine nick, finding the rope at regular intervals.
Farhan, however, fell to an unfortunate run out affected by Indian 'A' skipper Yash Dhull. The opener slipped midway while trying to scamper across for a single and Dhull, sensing a chance, struck timber. Farhan fell for 65 off 62 balls.
Yousuf’s small but effective stay in the crease was brought to a close in the 28th over, as Parag scalped him for 35 (35). Of his very next ball, Parag dismissed Qasim Akram on a golden duck.
The Pakistan innings was set back further as it lost its third in the space of three overs. Mohammad Haris, who is known to score quickly, fell to Sindhu. His dismissal reduced Pakistan to 187/5 in 29 overs.
Mubasir Khan and Tayyab Tahir drove the Pakistan innings ahead thereafter, helping Pakistan raise the 200-run mark in the 34th over.
Tahir brought up his fifty off 42 balls, hitting Abhishek for a couple in the 37th over. Tahir stepped up the scoring in the 40th over, smashing Dodiya for 18 in an over. He was hit for four fours and a six.
Tahir brought up his century of just 66 balls in the 44th over, with a boundary off Suthar. His innings ended in the 45th over, with Hangargekar scalping him for 108 (71).