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Kamran Akmal scores first century of PSL 2018, helps Zalmi keep their campaign alive

Updated March 16, 2018

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Kamran Akmal — PSL
Kamran Akmal — PSL

Lahore Qalandars won the toss and opted to bat first in the 29th match of the Pakistan Super League 2018 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday.

Fakhar Zaman, who had scored a tournament-best 94 in Qalandars' last match, couldn't replicate that form and fluency this time around, taking 11 balls for his 6 runs and departing in the third over. The excellent Hassan Ali took his wicket.

But Devcich was having no such problems, smacking Zalmi bowlers at will.

In the 5th over, McCullum, like Zaman, was castled too, leaving his team at 40-2.

But Devcich continued causing damage for the next five overs, taking his side to 80-2 at halfway point of their innings. Alongside him was Agha Salman who was playing the facilitator's role but also picking his shots when they presented themselves.

Dawson had been terrific with the ball in PSL 2018 but the poor Brit was torn apart by Devcich in this innings. His first three overs went for 40 runs — most of which were scored by the kiwi batter.

After Salman was dismissed by Wahab Riaz in the 12th over, Devcich — now sporting a retro floppy hat with his bushy beard — hit two consecutive 6s to Dawson.

The only Zalmi bowler whom he couldn't batter was Hassan, who took the big wicket in the 15th over. Devcich departed having scored 70 runs off just 42 balls; he hit seven 6s in total.

With just one-quarter of their overs remaining, the Qalandars were 120-4 and a target of 170 plus not out of their reach.

Uncapped locals Gulraiz Sadaf and Sohail Akhtar's responsible — if not flashy — batting in the last five overs saw Lahore Qalandars finish with 172-4.

In reply, Kamran Akmal started off the Zalmi innings the same way he had in the last game against Karachi, freely playing his strokes no matter who the bowler and what the ball were.

Riki Wessels departed in the second over and Dwayne Smith in the 7th but those setback mattered little as long as the elder Akmal was in the middle.

Zalmi, playing to stay alive in the tournament, were 51-1 by the end of 5 overs, and 81-2 by the end of 10. With the run rate a little on the slower side, Akmal up the ante in the next five overs, taking his side to 135-2 at the end of 15.

At that point, Zalmi needed just 38 runs off 30 balls and were in commanding position.

Akmal brought up the first century of PSL 2018 with a four and struck another boundary the very next ball to prove that he was not finished and wanted to bat till the end.

Akmal finished with an unbeaten 107 off just 61 balls, hitting seven 6s and 11 fours in his match-winning, and campaign-saving innings.

Saad Nasim hit back-to-back 4s on the final two balls of the 18th overs as Zalmi won by seven wickets with two overs to spare.

Line-ups

Peshawar Zalmi XI: Mohammad Hafeez, Kamran Akmal, Dwayne Smith, Riki Wessels (wk), Saad Nasim, Darren Sammy (capt), Liam Dawson, Umaid Asif, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Sameen Gul

Lahore Qalandars XI: Fakhar Zaman, Anton Devcich, Agha Salman, Brendon McCullum (capt), Gulraiz Sadaf (wk), Sohail Akhtar, Bilal Asif, Yasir Shah, Kyle Abbott, Mitchell McClenaghan, Shaheen Afridi