Cadmore, Babar, Khurram star in Zalmi’s narrow win

By our correspondent

KARACHI: Tom Kohler-Cadmore (92) and Babar Azam (68) hit fine fifties while Khurram Shehzad bowled a tight final over as Peshawar Zalmi conquered Karachi Kings by two runs in their gripping opener of the HBL PSL 8 here at the flood-lit National Stadium on Tuesday.

Tom and Babar put on 139 runs for the fifth wicket stand to guide Zalmi to 199-5.

Kings were then restricted to 197-5 with Khurram defending 16 runs in the last over.

Set to score 200, Kings were reduced at one stage to 46-4. However, skipper Imad Wasim (80*) and Shoaib Malik (52) added 131 runs for the fifth wicket partnership to bring their side very close to victory. This is also the highest stand for the fifth wicket in the PSL history.

Malik, who fell in the 19th over, smashed four fours and two sixes in his 34-ball 52, his 13th PSL fifty.

Imad, who played his T20 career best knock, smashed four sixes and seven fours from just 47 balls.

Earlier, Wahab Riaz provided an early breakthrough to Zalmi when he had Sharjeel Khan (0) for a golden duck in his first over when the left-hander edged a rising delivery to keeper Mohammad Haris.

James Neesham, the New Zealander, then had dangerous Matthew Wade (23) and Qasim Akram (7) in his two successive overs to leave Kings struggling at 44-3 in the sixth over.

Wade, the Australian left-hander, failed to pull it rightly while coming down the wicket with Kohler-Cadmore holding an easy catch at mid-on. Wade smacked three fours and one six from 15 balls.

In the next over Salman Irshad added to the misery of Kings when he got rid of Haider Ali (12). Haider wanted to guide it towards onside, it took leaving edge with Saim Ayub taking an easy catch at backward point position.

Wahab Riaz (2-34) and James Neesham (2-26) bowled excellently.

After early hiccups Tom Kohler-Cadmore (92) and skipper Babar Azam (68) did a fine job to enable Peshawar Zalmi post 199-5 in the allotted 20 overs after being invited to bat first.

The duo added 139 runs for the third wicket partnership which enabled their side reach a good total. This was the fourth highest stand for the third wicket in the PSL history.

South African leggie Imran Tahir broke the stand in the 16th over when he had Babar, held by Andrew Tye. Babar, who brought in his fifty off 39 balls, smashed seven fours and one six.

Kent-born 28-year old Kohler-Cadmore, who looked dangerous right the start, stayed until he was dislodged in the final over by Australian pacer Ben Cutting.

Cadmore, who brough in his fifty off 28 balls, smashed six towering sixes and seven fours in his fantastic knock.

He hit left-arm spinner Imad Wasim for three successive sixes in the fifth over of the innings which yielded 23 runs.

In the end New Zealand’s all-rounder James Neesham made an 11-ball 16 not out, striking one four which helped his side set an exactly 200 target for Kings.

Earlier Zalmi had a poor start when left-arm pacer Mir Hamza trapped wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Haris lbw which was confirmed via referral.

Haris hit two fours in his five-ball ten.

Saim Ayub (1) then got run out to leave Zalmi reeling at 16-2 in the second over.

Zalmi were 58-2 in the powerplay. Their 100 came in 64 balls, 150 in 87 balls. Zalmi scored 44 runs in the final five overs.

Mir Hamza (1-13) had a fine start when he picked up the wicket of Haris but later left the field due to fitness issue.

Andrew Tye (1-32), Imran Tahir (1-40) and Ben Cutting (1-29) were also among the wickets. Left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir, who did not bowl impressively, conceded 42 runs in his quota of four overs.

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