Zalmi in need of victory against Kings

Published March 2, 2020
Karachi Kings' Mohammad Rizwan (R) fields the ball after playing by Peshawar Zalmi's Kamran Akmal (L) during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 cricket match between Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings at the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi on February 21, 2020. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) — AFP or licensors
Karachi Kings' Mohammad Rizwan (R) fields the ball after playing by Peshawar Zalmi's Kamran Akmal (L) during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 cricket match between Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings at the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi on February 21, 2020. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) — AFP or licensors

Peshawar Zalmi own the proud record of topping preliminary-round in three of the past four Pakistan Super League editions, while winning the 2017 final and qualifying for the title-deciding fixtures in the subsequent two seasons as well.

However, Zalmi must get their act together if they aspire to maintain their remarkable sequence of finishing at the top of the league stage. After five matches, Darren Sammy’s charges are fourth in the six-team standings, three points behind surprise packets of PSL V Multan Sultans.

Multan Sultans fully capitalised playing three of their opening five matches on their home territory at the picturesque Multan Cricket Stadium and comfortably defeated Peshawar Zalmi by six wickets, Karachi Kings by 52 runs and then stunned defending champions Quetta Gladiators by 30 runs to open a two-point advantage atop the standings.

Friday’s truncated game against Lahore Qalandars here at the Pindi Cricket Stadium was as vital as any other they had played in the PSL history, because had it been abandoned — which seemed a likely possibility given the spell of rain the garrison town had throughout the day — Peshawar Zalmi would obviously got just a single point than the two they bagged after sealing a 16-run win in the 12-over encounter.

Saturday’s washout was all but demoralising for Peshawar Zalmi as they shared the points with two-time winners Islamabad United.

Peshawar Zalmi are scheduled to play three back-to-back fixtures in Rawalpindi over the next six days. On Monday they face Karachi Kings before the competition takes a two-day recess and are back in action on Friday when they come up against their fierce rivals Quetta Gladiators. Both of these matches are under lights.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2020

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