A thriller in Lahore last night saw Peshawar Zalmi marginally-edge out their opposition by a single run. They will now meet the Karachi Kings in the second eliminator later tonight, although the weather forecast doesn’t look great with continuous rain & thunderstorms predicted throughout the day and evening….fingers crossed we get a result!
It was no great surprise that Karachi was defeated by the first-placed Islamabad United in the all-important qualifier, and we could be in for a rematch if the Kings are to triumph over Peshawar tonight. Looking back on that qualifier in Dubai, Karachi didn’t actually play all that bad, in fact they were quite impressive with the bat in the first innings. From a decent performance batting first to copping an absolute shellacking in the field where Islamabad chased down the Kings target of 155 in just 12.3 overs, the top-ranked side made it look like child’s play. Islamabad seems to be on a whole nother level compared to their competition, so whoever progresses through to the final have to just about play faultless cricket. On a positive note for the Kings, Colin Ingram appears to have found form late in the tournament with scores of 31* & 68* in his past two outings, while Joe Denly is also proving to be a handy component at the top of the order for Karachi.
The good news for Karachi is that most of their foreign players have agreed to play in Pakistan, giving them a good shot at the PSL 3 title if they are to make it one step further. Dismissed for a second-ball duck in the qualifier, Babar Azam’s hot-streak came to an end but shouldn’t be concerned given his prolific spike in form that almost lasted seven games on the trot. Without Eoin Morgan in the side, English teammate Ravi Bopara should slot straight back in to that middle-order as well as offering another bowling option. The Kings bowlers took a beating in that last game against Islamabad, not one bowler went for under ten runs per over that night with only two wickets falling in the innings. Key-duo Usman Khan and Shahid Afridi will have to be key contributors if Karachi are to win, they have to potential to take a big bag which can make or break a team. Kings Skipper Imad Wasim has missed the past three matches and is again an unknown heading into this second eliminator, he was originally sidelined due to concussion.
In the end, Peshawar Zalmi did it dirty as both teams resembled two marathon runners dead-even heading into the final stretch, using every last ounce of what they had left to throw themselves across the line before the other. In this case, the final lunge was made by Quetta’s Anwar Ali who sent three sixes flying over the fence to keep them in it, but fell agonizingly-short of victory as Zalmi narrowly-escaped by one run. It was one of those matches where you couldn’t leave the couch for a second at the risk of missing something, and the finish reflected on the result, entertainment-plus. Tamim Iqbal’s return to the side came just at the right time as the Bangladeshi opener gave them some early momentum at the top, although the loss of Kamran Akmal and Andre Fletcher early in the innings wasn’t ideal. After that unbeaten 107 against Lahore, Akmal has a lot of weight on his shoulders heading into this game, he’s shown just how damaging he is when he spends an extended amount of time at the crease, making him Zalmi’s most notable X factor. Mohammad Hafeez could play a key role if Peshawar find themselves in a tight run chase as well, he’s always good for 20-30 runs but hasn’t cracked the forty-mark all that often in PSL 3.
English all-rounder Liam Dawson may have done significant damage with the bat for Zalmi with a fiery-62 off just 35 deliveries, but he almost managed to lose the match for Peshawar in the same match conceding a whopping-52 runs from his four overs with the ball. Apart from Dawson, the entire bowling attack was extremely effective with Hasan Ali, Sameen Gul, Wahab Riaz and Umaid Asif all chipping in with two wickets each. It was very-nearly the perfect bowling performance, but it took just one minor-but-fatal speed bump that just about spelled the end for Peshawar and derailed their campaign in an instance. It remains to be seen if Chris Jordan will take part in this match, he’d most-likely replace fellow-English all-rounder Liam Dawson which could be a possibility, although Dawson’s efforts with the bat could see him maintain his spot. Evin Lewis is also available for the match which might see Andre Fletcher make way in the XI.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Karachi Kings | PSL | 2nd eliminator | Lahore
- Babar Azam
- Colin Ingram
- Shahid Afridi
- Usman Khan
- Joe Denly
Wildcard pick – Tymal Mills
Top 5 fantasy picks | Peshawar Zalmi | PSL | 2nd eliminator | Lahore
- Hasan Ali
- Kamran Akmal
- Evin Lewis
- Wahab Riaz
- Tamim Iqbal
Wildcard pick – Darren Sammy
Karachi Kings (possible) – 1. Khurram Manzoor 2. Joe Denly 3. Babar Azam 4. Ravi Bopara 5. Colin Ingram 6. Saifullah Bangash/Imad Wasim 7. Mohammad Rizwan (wk) 8. Mohammad Amir 9. Tymal Mills 10. Usman Khan 11. Mohammad Irfan jr.
Peshawar Zalmi (possible) – 1. Tamim Iqbal 2. Kamran Akmal (wk) 3. Evin Lewis/Andre Fletcher 4. Mohammad Hafeez 5. Liam Dawson 6. Saad Nasim 7. Darren Sammy 8. Umaid Asif 9. Wahab Riaz 10. Hasan Ali 11. Sameen Gul.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.