By our correspondent
ISLAMABAD: Peshawar Zalmi stayed alive and in contention to finish among the top four of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) eighth edition with a thumping 24 runs win over Karachi Kings at the Pindi Stadium Wednesday.
The defeat left Kings in a corridor of uncertainty, depending largely on the outcome of forthcoming matches. Zalmi following early hiccups recovered well to snatch an easy win and important points.
Karachi Kings lost the plot midway through their innings, especially when Mujeebur Rehman’s (2-28) fuller delivery ripped through Mathew Wade (53) defences to reduce them to 95 for 5 in the 12th overs. Though the start was blistering for Kings as the fifty was raised in the 6th over, the repeated blows from there on made the matter worse. Tayyab Tahir (6), Irfan Khan (4), and experienced Shoaib Malik (1) lost wickets with the addition of only 15 runs. When Ben Cutting (15) held on at deep backward boundary off Azmatullah Omarzai (3-28) in the 15th over, Karachi Kings were already chasing a run rate of around 14 runs per over.
Kings then were seen fighting a losing cause as few more blows put them on the rack with all-rounder Aamer Jamal (3-43) having a heyday, picking two on two balls followed by his quick-fire 13 that included two sixes while batting at deep-end for Zalmi. “It was all about putting the ball in the right spot. I managed to bowl on a good line earlier in my spell as I concentrated on hitting the right spot,” Aamer Jamal said.
Wade’s 41-ball, 53 was the only notable contribution to otherwise below-par top-order Kings’ performance. Skipper Imad Wasim (57 not out) did his best to reduce the victory margin for Zalmi with one eye on the points table.
“We bowled badly that helped Zalmi get a fighting total from a rather shaky start. Now we have to go all out in the next three matches to win a place in the last four,” losing team captain Imad said.
Earlier, after losing the toss, Peshawar Zalmi got off to the worst possible start as local boy Mohammad Amir struck twice in the very first over removing both openers Mohammad Haris (0) and Babar Azam (0) with just one on the Board. Amir also accounted for Saim Ayub (1) minutes later to rock Zalmi on the back foot at 2 for 3, the worst possible start for the neighboring city team. Amir who was firing on all cylinders at the outset of the match was seen fully utilizing his years of experience on the Pindi Stadium’s track. The left-arm speedster who missed the last two Karachi Kings matches was seen in the full groove, making the ball swing both ways. Surprisingly Imad Wasim pulled him off after two overs allowing Tom Kohler Cadmore (56 not out) and emerging Haseebullah (50) open-up. The two then changed gears and started striking at will as Zalmi raised their fifty in the 7th over with Haseeb striking straight six off Imad. His sweep of Imad also fetched six earlier was a treat to watch.
Haseebullah tapped into mid-wicket for a single to bring up his fifty from just 27 deliveries. With the help of Cadmore, he pulled Zalmi out of trouble and into a position of authority. Man of the Match Rovman Powell (64) then took the attack back to Karachi Kings unleashing some exciting hitting, taking Zalmi to a position of authority. In all, he smashed four sixes and six boundaries during his 34-ball innings that was more an exhibition of power hitting. “Cadmore and Haseebulah set the stage for me to attack and I did exactly that, helping the side get some quick runs midway through the innings,” Powell, said.
Cadmore who faced 25 balls during the first ten overs of Zalmi’s innings took over the role of a sleeping partner until the last over where he struck some lusty blows at Akif Javed, accumulating 21 runs as Zalmi reached a competitive 197 for 5 in 20 overs.
Cadmore reached fifty in the process with a straight six. His role was more of an innings established rather than a pinch hitter. He took 44 balls to get his fifty and added another boundary to finish at 56 not out of 45 balls. Amir bowled his heart out to end up with impressive figures of 4-26 with Tabraiz Shamsi (1-25) picking the fifth wicket.