Zalmi oust United to set up PSL final date with Sultans
Peshawar Zalmi Tuesday set up a final clash with Multan Sultans at the expense of table toppers Islamabad United who failed twice to make it to the final of the Pakistan Super League.
Chasing a 175-run target, Zalmi never looked in trouble as they reached the target comfortably in 16.5overs for the loss of just two wickets.
Zalmi skipper Wahab Riaz put the United to bat first, who scored 174 for the loss of nine wickets.
Hasan Ali's start with the ball was not as effective as his batting in the first innings — where he hit 45 off 16 balls. The pacer gave away a total of 15 runs, including six extras, in the first over. However, he wrapped it up on a positive note by dismissing Kamran Akmal (8) in the last ball.
Mohammad Wasim was finally able to give a breakthrough to the United as he dismissed Hazratullah Zazai (66) in the 15th over, breaking the 126-run partnership between the Afghan batter and Jonathon Wells who remained not out for 55. Shoaib Malik also showed no mercy as he remained unbeaten on 32 off just 10 balls.
Earlier, Shoaib Malik's delivery in the first over to Colin Munro saw in the unfortunate dismissal of Khawaja (0) who was run out when the batsman smashed it down to Malik and the veteran all-rounder's shoelace touched the ball and hit the non-striker's end, helping his team get the first, and important breakthrough.
In the second over, pacer Imran had Akhlaq (7) caught behind, as the batsman attempted to hit it over fine leg, giving wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal an easy catch. To end the powerplay in style, Munro (44), in the sixth over, hit 19 runs — three fours, one six, and a run — to Asif to bring his team back in the game and shift the pressure back on to Zalmi.
In the eighth over, Malik dropped the catch of Brandon King, but Ammad Butt did not give up and dismissed the West Indies batsman for 18 in the last ball of the over, with a comfortable catch by Asif.
Akmal dropped an important catch of Munro in the ninth over — which according to commentator Ramiz Raja was tantamount to dropping half of the match — but three balls after, he took the much-needed catch, and Irfan had New Zealand batter caught behind for 44 runs.
Pacer M Irfan started struggling due to what appeared to be an injury on his foot after completing four overs for 21. The umpires seemed unsatisfied with the explanation, and the Zalmi were a fielder down.
Iftikhar (10) was dismissed in the 13th over after he nicked the ball and got caught behind — giving the Zalmi captain Riaz his first wicket. Umaid Asif, in the 15th over, bowled a short ball with an extra bounce to Shadab Khan (15), who nicked the ball and sent it safely into the wicketkeeper's hands.
In the same over, Umaid was able to get an important wicket of Ali (8), with an impressive catch by the Sherfane Rutherford, just yards away from the ropes. The umpires, in the 15th over, allowed Zalmi to replace Irfan with a substitute after they were satisfied that he was injured.
Wahab Riaz took the eighth wicket for his team after he dismissed Faheem Ashraf (1).
To take some pressure off the United, Hasan Ali smashed 21 runs — two fours, two sixes, and a run — to Asif in the 17th over as 22 runs came in the over. Hasan Ali was able to turn things around for the United, as he took Zalmi's skipper to the sweepers by hitting 18 runs in the 19th over.
Despite 16 runs coming from the last over of the match, the Zalmi were able to dismiss Hasan Ali for 45 runs.