The National T20 Cup 2017/18 was won by Lahore Blues after the pushed aside local rivals Lahore Whites in a one-sided final to lift the trophy. Originally scheduled to be played in August, the tournament had its fair share of delays and dawdling. It was first delayed to accommodate the Independence Cup and then Pakistan's series with Sri Lanka. The venue was also shifted from Multan to Rawalpindi to counter foggy and smoggy weather. Later, the semifinal stage of the tournament was postponed for a few days due to protests and unrest in the country.
Here's a look back at the tournament from a statistician's eye:
A total of 9047 runs were scored and 338 wickets fell during the tournament despite rain causing to two matches to abandoned and another two curtailed. The tournament was a high scoring one as teams batting first scored in excess of 140 in 23 of the 27 completed matches. The average first innings score was 170.
The competition between teams batting first and last was even as 48% of the matches were won by teams batting first while the remaining 52% of the completed matches were won by team chasing. Off these 52%, 8 times teams won by chasing a target of 160-plus.
Kamran Akmal with the help of four half-centuries and a hundred was the highest run-scorer of the tournament with 432 runs in 8 innings. Ahmed Shehzad scored 341 runs in 8 innings followed by Salman Butt who scored 328 runs.
Kamran Akmal’s run tally was the highest for any batsman in a T20 tournament in Pakistan surpassing Ahmed Shehzad’s record of 391 runs in 2013 edition of the tournament.
Umaid Asif, who used to be an integral part of Sialkot Stallions in initial editions of the tournament, took 14 wickets in the tournament to become the best bowler, followed by Wahab Riaz and Sohail Khan who took 12 wickets each.
Umaid took 14 wickets in the tournament
Umaid Asif’s strike rate in the tournament (12.00) was also the lowest for any bowler (minimum three wickets taken).
Adnan Akmal, with 10 dismissals, was the best wicketkeeper during the tournament. His ten dismissals included seven catches and three stumpings. His brother, Kamran Akmal, was the second-best wicketkeeper with seven dismissals.
Saeed Ajmal, aged 40 years and 28 days, became the oldest T20 captain from Pakistan when he flipped the coin for Faisalabad against Karachi Whites surpassing Kamran Hussain (38 years and 116 days) for Bahawalpur in 2015.
Mukhtar Ahmed’s hundred against Karachi came in 49 balls which is the third fastest hundred in T20s played in Pakistan, six balls slower than Bilal Asif’s record.
Mukhtar Ahmed became the fastest Pakistani to score three T20 hundreds when he scored 117 in his 34th T20 innings against a strong Karachi Whites side. Karachi’s Khurram Manzoor responded to Mukhtar’s blitz with a century in the same match to become the 2nd fastest Pakistani (84 innings) to three T20 centuries - both surpassing the record of Ahmed Shehzad who scored his 3rd in his 90th innings.
Mukhtar Ahmed became the fastest Pakistani to score three T20 hundreds
Kamran Akmal also scored his 3rd T20 hundred during the tournament, in his career’s 192nd innings, making him the slowest Pakistani to score as many centuries in the format.
Mukhtar Ahmed and Khurram Manzoor both scoring hundreds in the FATA v Karachi Whites game, which was only the 2nd occasion when two batsmen scored centuries in the same T20 game in Pakistan and the 17th overall. In 2012, Imran Farhat and Sharjeel Khan both scored a century in a T20 at LCCA Ground, Lahore.
Lahore Whites meeting FATA in their final round match should have been just another T20 game as the team had already qualified for the knockout stage but Kamran Akmal made it a game to remember as he disturbed many national and international records during an innings of 150*.
Highest individual innings by a Pakistani, Highest individual innings by a wicketkeeper batsman anywhere, Highest individual innings in Pakistan, Most runs from fours and sixes, Most sixes in a T20 innings in Pakistan and the list goes on. You can view the full list here.
Kamran Akmal with scores of 52, 63, 65, 52 and 150* during the tournament became the only Pakistani and 3rd batsman overall in the history of T20 cricket to score five consecutive fifty-plus scores. Other batsmen with this unique record are Virender Sehwag and Hamilton Masakadza.
Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal shared an unbeaten stand of 209 for the first wicket against FATA which is the highest opening partnership by any pair in T20s surpassing 207 run partnership between DJ Bell-Drummond and Joe Denly.
The partnership was also the highest for any wicket in T20s played in Pakistan surpassing the unbeaten 169 run stand between Yasir Hameed and Younis Khan.
During the tournament, Kamran Akmal, Ahmed Shehzad and Khurram Manzoor all completed 2000 runs in T20s played in Pakistan. They all are second, third and fourth highest run-scorers respectively in T20s played in Pakistan. Shoaib Malik with 2866 runs is the highest run-scorer.
Ahmed Shehzad scored his fourth T20 century in the semi-final of the tournament thus becoming the most prolific century-maker from Pakistan in T20s.
The hundred in the semi-final was Ahmed Shehzad’s third in finals (any sorts) of a tournament. No other batsman has scored more than one hundred in the knockout stages of a T20 tournament.
Five different batsmen scored centuries during the tournament which is the highest number of centuries scored in a T20 tournament in Pakistan.
Saeed Ajmal ended his 22 year long professional cricket career with a loss in the semi-final against Lahore. He has retired as the highest wicket-taker in T20s played in Pakistan, with 94.
Mohammad Hafeez captaining Lahore Blues to National T20 Cup win is the third time he has lifted the regional T20 tournament of Pakistan - second-most by any Captain jointly with Imran Nazir. Shoaib Malik has won it five times for Sialkot Stallions.
This win is the fourth title win for teams for Lahore - second most wins for any region. Sialkot region has won it for record six times. Karachi and Peshawar have won it two times each.
This win is the fourth title win for teams for Lahore
Off Lahore’s four wins, three of them have come under the captaincy of Mohammad Hafeez.