Peshawar Zalmi 207 all out (Ayub 68, Babar 50, Shaheen 4-31) beat Lahore Qalandars 172 all out (Talat 63, Shaheen 52, Wahab 3-17) by 35 runs
Peshawar Zalmi put in their best performance of the season to brush aside Lahore Qalandars by 50 runs. A sensational knock from Saim Ayub
, whose 36-ball 68 gave Zalmi an early advantage they never relinquished, helped his side amass 207, before four early wickets effected a preemptive strike on Qalandars efforts to chase it down. Fifties from Shaheen Shah Afridi
and Hussain Talat
restored respectability to the total after they had been reduced to 21 for 4, but too much ground had been lost for any realistic prospects of victory. The result also eliminated Karachi Kings from the PSL, and leaves Quetta Gladiators hanging by an ever-more precarious thread.
Ayub opened the batting for the first time for Zalmi, and immediately made an impression. He smashed Haris Rauf
for a six and a four off his first two balls, and Shaheen was dispatched for three boundaries in the over that followed. Sikandar Raza was dismantled in the fifth over, 21 runs coming off it as a good Powerplay became a great one. Even Rashid Khan
, bowling after the fielding restrictions ended, wouldn’t be spared as Ayub scored 16 off six balls against him before a wrong’un from the Afghan brought the curtain down on a phenomenal innings.
had been quietly accumulating at the other end, perhaps slowing down a touch too much after the Powerplay, but the team score still looked rosy. He was in great touch, timing and placing his strokes with the usual effortless grace. But it did come at the slight cost of run rate, his 41-ball 50 meant a strike rate of 121.95; no one else in the top seven had a lower strike rate than 150.
It was Tom Kohler-Cadmore who kept the momentum going for Zalmi after Ayub and Mohammad Haris fell, smashing two sixes off his first two in a delightfully breezy cameo. He would end with 36 off 16 to set Zalmi up for a total in excess of 220, but Shaheen and Rauf struck back hard at the death, taking six wickets between them. Zalmi lost their last eight wickets in 24 balls for 39 runs to end up improbably bowled out for 207, giving Qalandars a sniff against a potentially suspect bowling attack.
But their top order put in a second successive poor showing. It wasn’t until the eighth delivery that the first run off the bat was scored, and by then, rookie opener Shawaiz Irfan had been cleaned up by Arshad Iqbal
. Iqbal was impressive in his first two overs, which went for just three, while a double-strike in the fifth over from Wahab Riaz
got rid of Fakhar Zaman and Sam Billings in a decisive passage of play. Azmatullah Omarzai
followed up by getting rid of Abdullah Shafique with a short ball, and Qalandars were down to their lower middle order within the first six overs.
In a game that meant less to Qalandars than it did to Zalmi, Shaheen promoted himself up to No. 6 once more. When he’d managed just 1 run in 9 balls, it looked like an odd decision, but it was just a prelude to a fun, if unlikely partnership. As Zalmi’s intensity in the middle overs fell through the floor, Shaheen and Talat made hay, putting on a 114-run partnership with both batters scoring half-centuries. It never looked to imperil a Zalmi victory, but with net run rate potentially important, these were still annoying runs to concede. Wahab ultimately broke the partnership, and ended with figures of 4-1-17-3, including a staggering 18 dot balls in an outstanding performance.
For a brief moment, Raza’s blazing cameo gave Qalandars a faint glimmer, and it was only when Omarzai cleaned him up for 20 off 7 did Zalmi rest easy. The last five wickets fell in a flurry off 11 balls to give Zalmi an ultimately comfortable victory. They have never missed out on the playoffs in PSL history, and this victory took them a giant leap closer to keeping that record up.
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