Peshawar live to fight another day as Karachi fall short

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Sharjah

Kamran Akmal’s 51-ball 75 and Darren Sammy’s blinding assault in the latter half helped Peshawar Zalmi overwhelm Karachi Kings by 44 runs. More importantly for Peshawar, the win helped them remain in contention for the next round. After electing to bat first and racking up 181, Peshawar’s bowlers stifled Karachi, who were already weighed down by scoreboard pressure.
It reflected in how Karachi approached their chase – Joe Denly and Colin Ingram played out five and eight balls respectively before departing for ducks even as the Powerplay score read 35 for 2. Babar Azam was the standout batsman with his silken drives and flicks, and notched up his third consecutive fifty, but while he finished with a 50-ball 66, the target was too steep for him to gun down on his own. Karachi’s scoring rate remained a cause for concern for the most part, and they were striking at less than six runs an over even at the end of 10 overs.
There were brief spurts of rousing play, particularly when Shahid Afridi struck four sixes off four successive deliveries he faced. But, he perished for 26 off 8 balls when he holed out to long off off left-arm spinner Liam Dawson, who finished with 3 for 17 in his four overs. Azam struck a few sixes towards the end but was eventually dismissed in the 17th over as the closing stages of the match became a mere formality.
Karachi’s struggles with the bat mirrored those of Peshawar’s at the start of their innings. They lost Mohammad Hafeez to Mohammad Amir in the second over, and despite Akmal’s brace of sixes, they could only crawl to 31 for 1 in the Powerplay. At the halfway mark, Peshawar managed to reach only 58 for 2, but Akmal, who was dropped on 32, managed to swing the momentum soon after with some audacious hitting. Akmal was backed up by Saad Nasim, who smashed 35 off 18 balls, and Sammy’s unbeaten 15-ball 36, as Peshawar ransacked 123 runs in the last 10 overs.
Where the match was won
It would be fair to say that Karachi had things under control until the end of Peshawar’s 13th over where the score read 82 for 3. But Akmal, having completed his third fifty of the tournament, teed off with two successive sixes of the next over, bowled by Afridi, while Nasim wasn’t to be left behind as he collected a six off his own off the last ball. That 21-run over was followed by 14 runs in the next over before Usman Khan, who remained insulated from Akmal’s clear-the-leg-and-whack carnage and produced a spell of 4-0-11-3, concede only two runs in the 16th. The next over, bowled by Mohammad Irfan, though, was going to be mammoth – Sammy tonked three sixes and Nasim one as they amassed 28 runs. Nasim then smacked Amir for a hat-trick of fours in the next over, as Peshawar managed 64 runs in the last five.
The men who won it
You would struggle to look beyond three men – Akmal, Nasim and Sammy. While Akmal and Nasim added 37 runs for the fourth wicket, Sammy and Nasim put on a 42-run partnership for the fifth. That each of the batsmen passed around the hitting baton among themselves ensured that there was no let up in scoring momentum.
Where they stand
Peshawar’s victory takes them to eight points from nine matches, and they remain with a chance of making the playoffs. Despite the loss, Karachi hold on to third position with nine points.—Agencies

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