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Kamran Akmal’s Record Blitz Propels Peshawar To PSL Final

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Kamran Akmal's Record Blitz Propels Peshawar To PSL Final

Kamran Akmal’s Record Blitz Propels Peshawar To PSL Final

Lahore: (Pakistan) A record-breaking 77 off 27 deliveries by opener Kamran Akmal on Wednesday propelled defending champions Peshawar Zalmi into the Pakistan Super League final, as they beat Karachi Kings by 13 runs at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore.

Zalmi posted a towering 171-run target for Karachi Kings, whose bowlers crumbled under pressure as Akmal scored his half-century in just 17 balls, the fastest half-century in PSL history.

A resilient fightback by the Kings batsmen, led by Babar Azam’s 63 off 45, was not enough as the team could only score 157 runs in the match reduced to 16-overs a side due to rain.

The Darren Sammy-led Zalmi will face Islamabad United, who won the first edition of the tournament in 2016, in the tournament final at Karachi’s National Stadium on March 25 (Sunday)—The first time a PSL match will be held in the city.

Second Innings; Denly-Babar show

Peshawar Zalmi were given an early breakthrough by pacer Sameen Gul who removed opener Mukhtar Ahmed for 1 off 3, after Kamran Akmal’s record-breaking fifty propelled Peshawar Zalmi to 170-7 in the 16 overs-a-side match.

Just as the required run rate loomed bigger than ever, Babar Azam and Joe Denly took charge and nicked some neat boundaries to make for an interesting chase.

But just when the match started to tilt in favour of Kings, fast bowler Hasan Ali gave the yellow shirts a much-needed breakthrough by picking the wicket of Babar Azam.

Kamran Akmal’s blitz

Kamran Akmal's blitz

Put in to bat by Karachi Kings, Kamran Akmal smashed the fastest fifty in the history of PSL, surpassing Islamabad United’s Luke Ronchi to reach his feat with a powerful six off just 17 balls.

Despite looking set for another century this season, Kamran was out after hitting 77 off 27 balls as Ravi Bopara provided some respite to Karachi after the team’s decision to bowl first.

Andre Fletcher was the first to be dismissed by a hapless-looking Karachi, going after a 30-ball 34.

Bopara claimed his third wicket when he caught and bowled Mohammad Hafeez for 13, briefly pegging back Peshawar’s run fest.

Liam Dawson, who was Peshawar’s highest scorer in the first eliminator against Quetta Gladiators, fell after run-a-ball 13 in an eventual breakthrough for Usman Khan Shinwari, whose nightmare with the ball continued.

Skipper Darren Sammy, still struggling with a knee injury, managed 23 runs off 12 balls. Saad Nasim was run out after a sluggish 2 runs, while Wahab Riaz was out on golden duck.

Ravi Bopara led the wickets tally with 3 for 35. Tymal Mills claimed 2 wickets in return for 23 runs.

A wet outfield delayed the start of the knockout match, after intermittent rain most of the day. The game started at 8:15pm PST and was reduced to 16 overs a side.

Peshawar were without opener Tamim Iqbal, who is battling an injury. Karachi were without star all-rounder Shahid Afridi who is out due to a knee injury. The team also does not have the services of recovering skipper Imad Wasim, and is being led by Mohammad Amir.

Peshawar Zalmi beat Quetta Gladiators in a last-ball thriller last night, cementing their place in the second eliminator of against Karachi Kings.

Peshawar and Karachi played each other twice during the group stages of the tournament, with Karachi Kings winning the first match by five wickets and Peshawar Zalmi winning the second by 44 runs.