LAHORE: Babar Azam got another half century. Once again, it wasn’t a match-winning one. And it left Karachi Kings teetering on the brink of elimination from the playoffs race.
The Kings skipper had made an unbeaten 90 in their nine-run loss Peshawar Zalmi back in Karachi. In Sunday’s reverse fixture here at the Gaddafi Stadium saw Babar among the runs again, this time with a 59, but the margin of defeat was more pronounced.
Zalmi’s thumping 55-run victory left the Kings winless in six games of this HBL Pakistan Super League season and their playoff hopes severely reduced. They are no longer in control of their destiny. They not only need to win their remaining four games but also hope the other teams closer to them in the standings lose their matches.
They include Zalmi, who have six points from seven but with a victory that will hold them in good stead for their final three games.
Their openers fired on Sunday — Hazratullah Zazai (52) and Mohammad Haris (49) plundering runs with their 97-run partnership helping Zalmi put up 193 on the board after being put into bat.
The Kings found run-scoring difficult. The run rate kept climbing with each delivery and they could only make 138. Babar’s 46-ball vigil was painstaking. He could score only six boundaries. When he departed, the Kings needed 78 more to win off 28 deliveries as Zalmi coasted to victory.
The Kings were never in it. Sharjeel Khan (14) hit a six and a four but was dismissed on the 16th delivery he faced, caught by Ben Cutting off the impressive Salman Irshad.
Babar and Joe Clarke added 60 runs before the latter was cleaned up by Liam Livingstone for a run-a-ball 26.
Kings continued to crawl and after Babar was dismissed soon after reaching his half century, trapped lbw by Salman.
With him gone, Kings’ hopes had effectively ended. In the end, Babar could only afford a wry smile as Zalmi counterpart Wahab Riaz dismissed Ian Cockbain and Aamer Yamin off successive deliveries in the final over to finish his side off.
Babar and his team-mates would rue their missed chances in the field with Sahibzada Farhan guilty of dropping both Zazai, when he was on 12, and Haris on 15.
They were made to pay dearly with the Zalmi duo tearing into their bowling attack.
Haris hit four sixes and three boundaries off 27 deliveries before being cleaned up by Mohammad Nabi a run short of 50. Zazai hit six fours and a six before he became the third wicket to fall.
Veteran Shoaib Malik (31) and Ben Cutting (26) kept Zalmi’s tails up with their quickfire innings before both were dismissed in the penultimate over by Chris Jordan (3-41). But by then, the Kings had already been left with a daunting target to chase.
Batters & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Hazratullah Zazai c Babar b Qasim 52 42 6 1 123.80
Mohammad Haris b Nabi 49 27 3 4 181.48
Liam Livingstone c Qasim b Jordan 6 8 0 0 75.00
Shoaib Malik lbw b Jordan 31 21 3 0 147.61
Ben Cutting c Sharjeel b Jordan 26 15 4 0 173.33
Sherfane Rutherford b Umaid 11 5 2 0 220.00
Haider Ali not out 2 1 0 0 200.00
Amad Butt not out 1 1 0 0 100.00
EXTRAS (B-4, LB-4, W-7) 15
TOTAL (for six wickets, 20 overs) 193
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-97 (Haris), 2-114 (Livingstone), 3-122 (Zazai), 4-167 (Malik), 5-180 (Cutting), 6-190 (Rutherford).
DID NOT BAT: Wahab Riaz (c), Mohammad Umar, Salman Irshad
BOWLING: Imad 4-0-31-0, Aamer 3-0-38-0, Nabi 4-0-33-1, Umaid 4-0-35-1, Jordan 4-0-41-3 (1w), Qasim 1-0-7-1 (1w).
Batters & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Babar Azam lbw b Salman 59 46 6 0 128.26
Sharjeel Khan c Cutting b Salman 14 16 1 1 87.50
Joe Clarke b Livingstone 26 26 0 2 100.00
M. Nabi c Cutting b Umar 15 11 2 0 136.36
Ian Cockbain c Amad b Wahab 14 13 0 1 107.69
Aamer Yamin c Livingstone b Wahab 6 5 0 0 120.00
Sahibzada Farhan not out 1 2 0 0 50.00
Chris Jordan not out 1 1 0 0 100.00
EXTRAS (W-2) 2
TOTAL (for six wickets, 20 overs) 138
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-25 (Sharjeel), 2-85 (Clarke), 3-115 (Babar), 4-121 (Nabi), 5-136 (Cockbain), 6-136 (Aamer).
DID NOT BAT: Qasim Akram, Imad Wasim, Umaid Asif.
BOWLING: Malik 2-0-11-0, Umar 4-0-29-1, Salman 4-0-24-2, Wahab 4-0-26-2 (1w), Amad 3-0-26-0 (1w), Livingstone 3-0-22-1.
RESULT: Peshawar Zalmi won by 55 runs
UMPIRES: Faisal Afridi and Rashid Riaz (both Pakistan)
TV UMPIRE: Asif Yaqoob (Pakistan)
MATCH REFEREE: Ali Naqvi (Pakistan)
Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2022