KARACHI Kings’ wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan embraces team-mate Cameron Delport for dismissing dangerous Peshawar Zalmi opener Kamran Akmal during the PSL match at the National Stadium on Friday.—Tahir Jamal/White Star
KARACHI Kings’ wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan embraces team-mate Cameron Delport for dismissing dangerous Peshawar Zalmi opener Kamran Akmal during the PSL match at the National Stadium on Friday.—Tahir Jamal/White Star

KARACHI: Inspired by a sublime Babar Azam contribution, Karachi Kings chalked up a rare victory against the formidable Peshawar Zalmi in their HBL Pakistan Super League clash here at the National Stadium on Friday.

Requiring 16 from the final over in pursuit of a gigantic 202-run target, Peshawar were limited to only five runs by an excellent over from Umaid Asif. The tall paceman’s subtle change of pace tricked Peshawar skipper Darren Sammy into offering a high-ball catch that was brilliantly held on the run by the bowler himself.

The departure of Sammy inevitably proved to be the game-changing moment. The two-time World T20-winning captain of the West Indies had threatened to extend Peshawar’s winning sequence in his partnership with Liam Livingstone. But his dismissal for a 20-ball 30 brought a sigh of relief in the Karachi dugout because Peshawar were very much in the game for what would have been only the fourth successful 200-plus run chase in the PSL history.

Livingstone, who played the anchor’s role quite superbly while finishing undefeated on a 29-ball 54 that included three sixes and two fours, minced no words in saying Peshawar — who went into the match without head coach Mohammad Akram there to plan the strategy since the ex-Pakistan fast bowler had to rush to his hometown (Rawalpindi) following the death of his mother overnight— missed opportunities which cost them in the end.

“For sure starting [this PSL] with a win under the belt would have been simply great for the side because it is always good and sets the pattern for the rest of the tournament,” the England batsman told the post-match media conference.

FANS carry a poster of Peshawar Zalmi captain Darren Sammy outside the National Stadium on the eve of the match between Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings.—AFP
FANS carry a poster of Peshawar Zalmi captain Darren Sammy outside the National Stadium on the eve of the match between Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings.—AFP

“We’re definitely in [the game] until the very end. Of course, Darren getting out in the final over probably sealed victory for them [Karachi]. Yeah, they played well and chasing a 200-plus score is never that easy. I thought Babar was sensational today. He is an unbelievable cricketer and surely one of the best playing currently.”

Having come into this game on the back of just two wins and eight defeats in 10 previous fixtures against Peshawar Zalmi since the franchise-based T20 league was launched in 2016, Karachi needed this result to boost their hopes for the rest of the competition.

Karachi’s third success, this one by 10 runs, followed their wins against Peshawar in the UAE. Karachi edged their opponents by nine runs at Sharjah in 2017 before completing a five-wicket triumph at Dubai during the 2018 edition.

Babar, the Pakistan T20 skipper and the world’s top-ranked batsman in the shortest format, enthralled the late afternoon crowd to some audacious stroke-play, highlighted by seven boundaries and a brace of sixes, before emerging as the match’s top-scorer. The prolific right-hander made 78 from 56 deliveries — the 36th time he reached the half-century landmark in 133 appearances — to set the foundations of Karachi’s final tally of 201-4.

Imad Wasim was the other key man for Karachi as the captain reached exactly 50 off 30 with 30 of the runs coming from boundaries, including three maximums. Babar and Imad were instrumental in giving their bowlers a healthy cushion as they shared an excellent partnership of 97 for the third wicket after Sharjeel Khan’s first competitive appearance was limited to 19 runs. Cameron Delport also made his presence felt with a 16-ball 20 while Iftikhar Ahmed cashed in on fully as he blasted the three balls he negotiated for two sixes and a four.

BRILLIANT Babar Azam celebrates the half-century.—White Star
BRILLIANT Babar Azam celebrates the half-century.—White Star

Kamran Akmal, in his trademark style, kept Peshawar’s chase on track with a feisty 43 off 26 balls (five fours and two sixes) until Delport outfoxed the veteran right-hander with a well-disguised delivery that crashed into the stumps.

Peshawar suffered another disastrous before Kamran was dismissed as Shoaib Malik’s first outing for the third PSL franchise he has represented so far terminated in a suicidal run-out.

However, Karachi deserved their success but Peshawar have only few hours to catch their breath because they will be out in the park on Saturday when they take on defending champions Quetta Gladiators, who then face Karachi in the final afternoon game of Karachi leg on Sunday.

Scoreboard

KARACHI KINGS

Batsmen & mode dismissals R B 4s 6s SR

Babar Azam run out 78 56 7 2 139.28

Sharjeel Khanc Malik b Hasan 19 11 1 2 172.72

C.S. Delport b Mohsin 20 16 3 0 125.00

Imad Wasim c Malik b Hasan 50 30 3 3 166.66

C.A.K. Walton not out 9 6 1 0 150.00

Iftikhar Ahmed not out 16 3 1 2 533.33

EXTRAS (B-1, LB-1, W-5, NB-2) 9 - - - -

TOTAL (for four wkts, 20 overs) 201 - - - -

FALL OF WKTS: 1-25 (Sharjeel, 2.5 ov), 2-73 (Delport, 8.4 ov), 3-170 (Babar, 17.5 ov), 4-180 (Imad, 19.1 ov).

DID NOT BAT: Mohammad Rizwan, C.J. Jordan, Umaid Asif, Mohammad Amir, Arshad Iqbal.

BOWLING: Hasan Ali 4-0-52-2; Rahat Ali4-0-33-0 (3w); Shoaib Malik 2-0-22-0; Wahab Riaz4-0-35-0 (2nb, 2w); Mohammad Mohsin 4-0-35-1; Dawson 2-0-22-0.

PESHAWAR ZALMI

Batsmen & mode dismissals R B 4s 6s SR

T. Banton lbw b Jordan 13 13 1 0 100.00

Kamran Akmal b Delport 43 26 5 2 165.38

Haider Ali b Jordan 4 3 1 0 75.00

Shoaib Malik run out 16 12 2 0 133.33

L.S. Livingstone not out 54 29 2 3 186.20

L.A. Dawson c Rizwan b Amir 22 16 0 1 137.50

D.J.G. Sammy c and b Umaid 30 20 2 1 150.00

Wahab Riaz c Rizwan b Umaid 0 1 0 0 0.00

EXTRAS (LB-1, W-8) 9 - - - -

TOTAL (for seven wkts, 20 overs) 191 - - - -

FALL OF WKTS: 1-29 (Banton, 3.2 ov), 2-33 (Haider, 3.5 ov), 3-68 (Malik, 8.2 ov), 4-81 (Kamran, 9.4 ov), 5-128 (Dawson, 14.3 ov), 6-190 (Sammy, 19.4 ov), 7-191 (Wahab, 19.6 ov).

DID NOT BAT: Mohammad Mohsin, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali.

BOWLING: Mohammad Amir4-0-34-1 (1w); Arshad Iqbal 4-0-51-0; Jordan

4-0-39-2 (2w); Umaid Asif 4-0-23-2; Delport 2-0-23-1 (1w); Imad Wasim 2-20-0.

RESULT: Karachi Kings won by 10 runs.

UMPIRES: Faisal Afridi (Pakistan) and R.K. Illingworth (England).

TV UMPIRE:Asif Yaqoob (Pakistan).

MATCH REFEREE: R.S. Mahanama (Sri Lanka).

MAN-OF-THE-MATCH:Babar Azam.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2020