Haider Ali and Shoaib Malik saved the day for Peshawar Zalmi as they beat Multan Sultans by six wickets in their Pakistan Super League (PSL) 6 fixture at the National Stadium in Karachi on Tuesday.
Zalmi, who were chasing a 194-run target set by the Sultans — the highest so far in the tournament this year, finished the game at 197-4 with six balls to spare after Ali and Malik scored 24 runs in the 19th over.
Kamran Akmal and Imamul Haq opened the Zalmi innings, making quick work and scoring 43 off 30 deliveries.
The productive partnership was broken in the 7th over as Akmal was caught lbw by leg-spinner Usman Qadir.
He was replaced by Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who with help from Imamul Haq took his side's score to 133 by the 15th over without any further wicket loss,
However, the gap between the required runs and balls was more than double and to make matters worse, Imamul Haq was run out in the next over after making a 39-ball 48. Shahnawaz Dhani then struck twice in the 17th over to dismiss Sherfane Rutherford as well as Cadmore, who was named Player of the Match for hitting a fine 53 off 32 balls.
At this point, Zalmi needed 34 to win from 18 balls and it seemed like they might not make it past the line. But Haider Ali (24 off 8) turned the game around for his team, hitting two fours and as many sixes in the 18th and 19th overs, while Malik too chipped in with a six. Ali's superb second six finally clinched the match for the Zalmi with an over to spare.
Earlier, Zalmi won the toss and chose to field first.
Mohammad Rizwan and Chris Lynn opened the innings for the Multan franchise but Lynn got caught out by Haider Ali off Mohammad Irfan's ball in only the second over. Vince, who replaced Lynn at the pitch, hit a couple of fours, trying to drive up the score after a slow start.
Just as the Rizwan-Vince partnership started to look dangerous for Zalmi, Rizwan got out at 41, caught by Imamul Haq off Mohammad Imran's ball at the start of the 11th over.
The Multan captain had made 71 runs in the last match.
Wahab Riaz's over proved costly for Zalmi as Sohaib Maqsood hit three consecutive boundaries.
Vince consolidated his position on the pitch, scoring a half-century off 39 balls — his third fifty in PSL. Despite brilliant batting, Vince was unable to reach a century, caught out at 84 in the 19th over.
Maqsood lost his wicket in the 17th over, caught out by Mohammad Kamran off Saqib Mahmood.
Both teams entered the contest having lost their previous matches.
The Sultans made two changes to their lineup with Usman Qadir coming in for Sohaibullah and Shahnawaz Dhani making his debut.
Peshawar Zalmi: Kamran Akmal (wk), Imam Ul Haq, Haider Ali, Shoaib Malik, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Sherfane Rutherford, Wahab Riaz (capt), Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Saqib Mehmood, Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Irfan.
Multan Sultans Mohammad Rizwan (capt/wk), Chris Lynn, James Vince, Rilee Rossouw, Sohaib Maqsood, Khushdil Shah, Shahid Afridi, Carlos Brathwaite, Sohail Tanvir, Usman Qadir, Shahnawaz Dhani.