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Sports

PSL 6 Eliminator 1: Zazai stars as Peshawar eliminate Karachi

  • Zalmi will now face Islamabad United in the second Eliminator tomorrow.
22 Jun, 2021

Peshawar Zalmi have knocked defending champions Karachi Kings out of the tournament courtesy of an incredible, 73-run innings from Hazratullah Zazai at the top. They will now lock horns with Islamabad United in the second Eliminator on Tuesday.

Zalmi chased down the 176-run target on the second-last ball of the innings with five wickets in hand.

Earlier, after winning the toss Zalmi skipper Wahab Riaz put Karachi Kings to bat with an aim to restrict them to a minimum total.

Karachi openers started cautiously on a slow, turning wicket and played run a ball for most of the powerplay.

Sharjeel Khan, who usually goes hard at the ball from the word go, could not properly middle it and remained quiet for most of his innings; and as he decided to take on bowlers, he missed an in-dipper from Irfan and got LBW in the sixth over after his 20-ball 26.

They say "One brings two" and rightly so as Martin Guptill who has had a rusty tournament departed in the next over without disturbing the scorer, increasing the pressure on Babar Azam at the other end.

Danish Aziz, who had been promoted up the order after his match-winning knock of 45 from 13 balls against Quetta Gladiators, kept the scoreboard ticking with Babar. The pair added 31 runs for the third wicket partnership when he top-edged one from Mohammad Irfan. He departed for 13 off 10 while Karachi were 73/3.

Skipper Imad Wasim's next move that was to send Thisara Perera up the order worked wonders for Kings. The Sri Lankan all-rounder played a gem of an innings of much-needed 15-ball 37 to add wheels to the innings. His firepower followed by a cameo from Imad down the order propelled Karachi to a fighting total of 175/7.

Wahab Riaz, Irfan and Umaid Asif shared two wickets apiece for Zalmi.

Peshawar Zalmi started their chase in a grand fashion with Hazratullah Zazai smashing Karachi bowlers all over the park.

All that his partners, Kamran Akmal (13 off 12), and Imam-ul-Haq (11off 17) did was to take a single and give the strike back to Zazai who did not let any over go without a boundary.

His 38-ball 77 powered by 5 sixes and 10 fours put Peshawar in a very good position to chase down the sizeable total. Zalmi were 103/3 when he departed in the 12th over, requiring 73 runs from 51 balls.

Experienced Shoaib Malik and the newcomer Khalid Usman decided not to take any more chances and take the game deep. The two added another 33 runs to the total without playing any rash shot. It was when Malik shifted gears and took on teenage sensation Noor Ahmed.

Karachi failed to take wickets in the middle overs, something that hurt them the most in the death overs. Two set batsmen on the crease hit the best of their bowlers as Noor and Mohammad Amir conceded 11 an over in the last part of the innings.

Zalmi required only 22 off 18 balls with 7 wickets in hand and things looked under control. However, two wickets in two overs spiced up the game a little with both set batsmen Khalid Usman (16) and Shoaib Malik (30) departing 18th and 19th over.

With seven runs required off six balls, Danish Aziz dropped a crucial catch on the first ball of the final over, giving Sherfane Rutherford a breather. The missed chance came back to haunt Kings as the West Indian hit the match-levelling four on the fourth ball of the over and then got dropped once again on the fifth ball to complete the run chase, eliminating sloppy Karachi Kings of the tournament.

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