Peshawar Zalmi beat the Karachi Kings by 7 wicket. Here is the full commentary and scorecard.
After a fiery opening spell from Mohammed Amir, which reminded us about his spell in the Asia Cup vs India, Eoin Morgen’s 80 of 57 balls steadied the Zalmi ship to bag the two points. The below-par score of just 118 looked like a challenge after the early wickets of the in-form Kamran Akmal and Mohammed Hafeez as they were falling into a hole of 2 for 2.
The boys in blue never really recovered from the nightmare of a start with 12 for 4 in the first 4 overs after being sent into bat. Mohammed Hafeez opened the bowling, like the olden, golden days, and sent Shahzaib Hasan back in the first over to apply immediate pressure to the Kings.
Babar Azam, Chris Gayle and Kumar Sangakarra got the same fate as Hasan when they fell swiftly in the next four overs but the saviours came in the face of Shoaib Malik and Ravi Bopara. It felt like Deja Vu from last year. However, this saviour had a cost which was going below 6 every over and in the end the Kings somehow managed 118. This was no where near enough for such a strong batting line-up like the Zalmi. Amir might have delayed the loss of the Kings but he could not change what was written in the book of fate. Morgan played a superb T20 knock with class and elegance as well as the big ones over the boundary.
Karachi had probably lost the match in the first 4 overs of their batting innings when they lost 4 wickets for 12 runs. On paper a lot has been said about the high profile batting line-up of the Kings’ but they have not shown what they can do on the field. Something needs to change for the Kings to start getting ahead in this competition and that something is that they need to work as a unit. In last year’s season, the Kings also looked like they had not gelled in properly and that same problem is also occurring now. However, the Kings lower order did do well to get their team over the 100 mark but that could not be enough for a batting department like the Zalmi.
Morgan took the game on to the Kings in every aspect (though he did recieve some luck) if the Zalmi chase. He survived the menacing opening spell of Amir, that his 2 teammates did not survive, even though Amir kept beating the outside edge. After that was finished, Morgan sent any short bowl, offside or leg side, smashing into the boundary. Not only the boundaries helped Morgan, it was his international experience. He held his wicket tight even when Imad Wasim and Abrar Ahmed were bowling wicket to wicket as the required run rate kept going up. After Morgan departed, Haris Sohail and Dawid Malan played 2 small cameos to finish the chase with ease.
Mohammed Hafeez had another ‘anda’ (duck) next to his name as he could not the survive the battery of fast and swinging balls from Amir and there is a scare that he might not play in the next game due to his inconsistency and poor batting performances. He managed to survive the first LBW shout but in the next one, the umpire did not hesitate to give him out.
In the second over, Kamran Akmal was caught off the bowling of Sohail Khan for a duck trying to play his famous back foot shots but this time he got it wrong. In the opening game vs United, Kamran hit 88 with beautiful shots but could not repeat it in the second game of the Zalmi. It was a bad day for the Akmal family after his brother, Umar Akmal, also got out for duck in the afternoon game.
Zalmi captain, Darren Sammy, does not drop many but he did against the United in the opener which cost his team the match so he had to make up for that and did brilliantly when he took a thick edge from Babar Azam at first slip. A selfie celebration with the whole team followed which lightened the hearts of cricket fans all around the world.
Zalmi now join United and the Gladiators on two points at the top of the table, though the Zalmi have played one more game than the other two. Lahore and Karachi are slummed at the bottom looking from some points to open their account.
The Cornered Tiger