Zalmi hold nerves to deny Kings consolation victory

By our correspondent
KARACHI: Peshawar Zalmi have raced to the top position on the points table, after eking out a two-run win against Karachi Kings at National Bank Stadium, Karachi on Tuesday night.

Zalmi defended their 147-run total successfully, as the Kings agonizingly fell two runs short, scoring 145-5 in the allotted 20 overs. In doing so, Zalmi also registered the record for the lowest total successfully defended in HBL PSL history at Karachi.

Karachi’s pursuit of the 148-run target started solidly as opening batters, James Vince and Tim Seifert, put on a 61-run opening partnership. The powerplay yielded 44 runs, with Seifert being the aggressor.

Vince struggled to get off the blocks during his stay at the crease, which was cut short in the ninth over by Naveen-ul-Haq, as he returned for a sluggish 21 off 27 balls on the back of four boundaries.

In the next over, Saim outfoxed Shan Masood (0, 2b) with a brilliant ball that turned just enough to hit the off-stump, leaving the batter stunned.

At the halfway mark Kings required 84 with Shoaib Malik and Seifert on the crease. In the 11th over Seifert was pinned leg-before wicket against Aamir Jamal, for 41 off 30 balls, comprising eight boundaries.

Shoaib and Mohammad Irfan Khan joined forces to stitch a crucial 49-run fourth-wicket partnership off 41 balls, keeping Zalmi on their toes.

With 35 required of the last three overs, Naveen bowled Shoaib in the 17th over, who walked back after scoring 22 off 25 balls comprising one four.

Luke Wood bowled a fine penultimate over conceding just eight and also dismissing the dangerous Kieron Pollard for a paltry one run. Aamir faced with the challenge of defending 17 runs in the last over, gave away 13 runs off the first five balls as Anwar Ali got off strike. Irfan (39 not out, 26b, 7x4s)needed to hit four off the last ball to earn a consolation win for the Kings.

Aamir nailed a yorker as Irfan tried to make room while shuffling to the leg side and missed the ball, taking just one bye off it as Zalmi won the game by a mere two runs. Naveen bagged two wickets while Wood, Aamir and Saim picked up one each.

Earlier, the opening duo of Babar Azam and Saim Ayub put on another show of delightful batting after Zalmi won the toss and elected to bat first. They brought up 54 runs at the end of the powerplay.

Zahid Mahmood, bowling the seventh over, got rid of Saim (19, 18b, 3x4s) as he turned one prodigiously from outside off to rattle the stumps, bringing an end to the 55-run opening stand.

Zalmi notched 75 runs for the loss of one wicket by the halfway mark as Babar played some fluent shots on a turning track. In the following over, Mohammad Haris (13, 11b, 2x4s) was undone by Hasan Ali as Arafat Minhas took an easy catch behind point.

Left-hand batter Haseebullah (1, 5b) too failed to make his mark as Arafat bagged his maiden HBL PSL wicket with Irfan pouching the ball at deep midwicket leaving Zalmi 83-3 after 12.1 overs.

In the 14th over, Babar took apart Zahid’s leg-spin by hitting him for a six and four to bring up his fifth HBL PSL 9 half-century.

Later in the same over, he failed to make his ground at the non-striker’s end while attempting a second run and had to return for 51 off 46 balls, comprising five boundaries and a solitary six.

On a tricky wicket, Zalmi could only manage 43 runs off the last five overs courtesy Rovman Powell’s 30 off 18 balls, on the back of three boundaries while Aamir chipped in with an unbeaten eight off seven balls.

Arafat, making his HBL PSL debut, bowled the most economical spell of the tournament, returning with a wicket for just 11 runs in four overs, as Karachi bowlers conceded 147-6 in the 20 overs with Sams, Zahid and Hasan bagging one scalp each.

Scores in brief:

Peshawar Zalmi beat Karachi by two runs

Peshawar Zalmi 147-6, 20 overs (Babar Azam 51, Rovman Powell 30; Arafat Minhas 1-11, Hasan Ali 1-26, Zahid Mahmood 1-34, Daniel Sams 1-37)

Karachi Kings 145-5, 20 overs (Time Seifert 41, Muhammad Irfan Khan 39 not out, Naveen-ul-Haq 2-22)

Player of the match – Babar Azam (Peshawar Zalmi)

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