By Sulman Ahmed
Peshawar Zalmi Skipper Babar Azam’s enterprising 39-ball 64 and bowlers’ brilliance wrapped up a 12-run thrilling victory to eliminate Islamabad United in the 1st eliminator of the eighth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at Qaddafi Stadium on Thursday.
There were many positives for the Zalmi in all the departments. Starting from Babar Azam’s calculated knock and Mohammad Haris’ onslaught to Salman Irshad and Aamer Jamal’s exceptional bowling. Skipper Babar Azam’s enterprising 39-ball 64 and Mohammad Haris’ quickfire 17-ball 34 paved way for Peshawar Zalmi Ali to settle staggering 183-8 on the board against Islamabad United in the 1st eliminator of the eighth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at Qaddafi Stadium on Thursday.
Early on both Babar and Saim went (23 off 16) after the bowlers in no time, stitching spunky 60-run stand off just 28 balls. For the partnership, Babar contributed 27 and Saim 23. Saim Ayub hoicked Mohammad Wasim straight to Faheem Ashraf over midwicket. Saim smashed five fours. Zalmi lost Haseebullah Khan at the total of 96, scoring 11-ball 15. Skipper Shadab Khan trapped him and the rest of the job was done by wicketkeeper Azam Khan. But Babar Azam was not giving up and tried his level best to keep his time out of the doldrums. Mohammad Haris joined skipper Babar and went straight after Shadab to slice away the boundary. In the next over, Haris creamed a boundary off Faheem Ashraf. In the first 10 overs, the Zalmi were 109-2, while Babar Azam notched another 50 off just 28. Facing Shadab, Babar Azam smoked successive boundaries, playing exquisite cover drives. Haris was flaunting his excellent cricketing skills. He clobbered a towering six and a boundary to Shadab. But in the last bowl of his spell, Shadab bounced back, flummoxing Babar Azam. Babar whacked 10 boundaries in 39 balls to smash brilliant 64.
Mohammad tried to continue the momentum following the departure of Babar and he clobbered a gigantic six off Hasan Ali. But Hasan bounced back to undone Mohammad Haris. Haris hoicked Hasan straight to Mohammad Wasim over cover region. In his fiery innings, Mohammad Haris hammered three boundaries and two sixes in 17 balls to score 34. In the death overs, Fazalhaq Farooqi, who was brilliant through the tournament, undone James Neesham (2 off 5). Neesham tried to loft over midwicket, but that was not a good short to clear the boundary and finds Mubasir Khan, who grabbed the catch comfortably.
The 19th over, which Mohammad Wasim delivered was quite eventful. Aamer Jamal (1 off 3) was run out and Shadab failed to grab a catch off Azmatullah as a result he cracked two boundaries. His team also earned four byes as well. In the last over, Faheem Ashraf cleaned up Azmatullah (10 of 6) in the final over.
Toss: Islamabad United elected to bowl first against Peshawar Zalmi in the marquee tournament.
Islamabad United: Alex Hales, R Gurbaz, Sohaib Maqsood, Colin Munro, Shadab Khan (c), Azam Khan (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Mubasir Khan, Hassan Ali, Wasim Jr and Fazalhaq Farooqi.
Peshawar Zalmi: Saim Ayub, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Haris (wk), Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Jimmy Neesham, Aamir Jamal, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, Azmatullah Omarzai, Wahab Riaz, Salman Irshad.