Bopara almost took Karachi home as Peshawar seal victory by 3 runs in an epic encounter
On a flat Sharjah track, it was no surprise that Zalmi chose to bat first after winning the toss. Karachi’s squad remained unchanged from the previous match, while Peshawar brought in the young Amir Yamin for Junaid Khan. The ever consistent Tamim Iqbal and Muhammad Hafeez opened the innings for Zalmi as Mohammad Amir rushed in to bowl the first over. Hafeez took the initiative from the start and got off the mark with a terrific boundary. Imad Wasim was next as Hafeez continued to play beautifully, striking three boundaries from that over. Within no time, Peshawar Zalmi were off to great start, with Hafeez looking in sublime form. Tamim kept playing the supporting role on the other end, as his partner targeted every single bowler for runs. The professor went after everyone as Amir was pulled away for an exquisite four, Shakib was smashed for a six down the ground as Karachi Kings seemed to run out of ideas to stop Hafeez. Tamim kept rotating the strike and let Hafeez take charge, which ensured Zalmi set the perfect platform for a big total. Hafeez raced to his half century from only 29 balls in the ninth over with Peshawar in firm control of the match at 78/0. Karachi Kings needed to pick up a wicket soon as Zalmi’s openers were dominating proceedings.
Tamim also got in to his stride as the innings progressed and started to use his feet well against the spin bowlers. Kings’ finally got their much awaited first wicket through Ravi Bopara as Hafeez was dismissed leg before in the 11th over. Hafeez was really unfortunate with that decision as the ball was clearly drifting down the leg stump. The opening pair put 93 on the board from just 63 balls. Bopara struck again and Tamim was sent packing in the 13th after a steady 37 from 35 deliveries. Kamran Akmal continued to keep the runs flowing for Peshawar, with a banging six down the ground as the ball disappeared out of the ground. With fifteen overs gone, Peshawar Zalmi were 126/2 with Kamran Akmal and Dawid Malan in the middle. Akmal departed after a quick 30 from 20 balls off Amir’s bowling and out came Zalmi’s captain, Shahid Afridi. With little time spent on the crease, Afridi skied a full toss off Sohail Tanvir which was caught by Bopara, but unexplainably was given as a no ball by the third umpire for being above waist height even though Afridi was charging down the track. Malan was dismissed after a troublesome time in the middle and was followed by Darren Sammy with less than three overs to go. Afridi and Sammy finished off the innings strongly as they hit Tanvir for 17 runs in the last over, and Peshawar Zalmi managed an impressive 182/4 in their 20 overs.
Lendl Simmons and Nauman Anwar opened the innings for Karachi Kings. Amir Yamin bowled an impressive first over and only conceded two runs. Nauman scored Karachi’s first boundary off Shaun Tait in the second over through a fine shot towards mid wicket. Wahab dismissed Simmons on his very first ball, beating him with sheer pace with a fiery delivery that hit the stumps. Nauman was run out in the next over courtesy some great fielding and a direct hit by Shahid Yusuf at point. Karachi’s misery continued as Imad Wasim was run out two deliveries later in the most comical fashion imaginable. He was strolling towards the crease and failed to ground his bat as Mohammad Asghar clipped off the bails in what should have been an easy run. Karachi’s captain Shoaib Malik was next and he hit a convincing six off Shahid Afridi straight away as he tried to resurrect the chase and lead from the front. His stay was short lived as he perished off Asghar’s bowling in the eight over while trying to dispatch another six. Shakib Al Hasan was next to throw away his wicket to Afridi as Karachi’s middle order collapsed. After ten overs, Karachi Kings were 61/5 with the match way beyond their reach barring a miracle.
James Vince and Ravi Bopara began striking the ball to inject hope in the Karachi camp and picked up the run rate. Vince was particularly impressive, as he began to hit all bowlers with ease and started hitting boundaries at will. Peshawar Zalmi were forced to take a strategic time out as Bopara and Vince gained momentum. That decision worked wonders as Shaun Tait bowled out the dangerous James Vince after he made a quick fire 44 from 28 balls. Karachi needed 72 runs from the last five overs, with Bopara still in the middle. Yamin and Riaz were all put away for runs by Bopara, before he absolutely hammered Shaun Tait in the 18th over and scored 26 runs in an over which put Peshawar in all sorts of trouble. Sohail Tanvir also kept the scoreboard ticking, while Bopara raced to a spectacular 50 from 28 balls in the process. With two overs left and 22 needed, we had a match on our hands. Sohail Tanvir hit an important six off Riaz in the second last over, before being bowled out on the very next ball.
Karachi needed 13 runs from the last over as Darren Sammy was given the ball for the first time in the innings. Bopara dispatched the first ball for six, followed it up with a well taken double before being caught at deep midwicket while trying to finish things off. Bopara departed after an astounding and 67 from 33 deliveries. Karachi needed 4 runs from the last 2 balls. Usama Mir was run out by Kamran Akmal while trying to take a quick single. Amir was on strike as Karachi needed a boundary off the last ball to seal the win, it was all happening in Sharjah! Darren Sammy ensured that did not happen as Zalmi sealed the win by 3 runs. Peshawar were ecstatic, as another thrilling encounter in the HBL PSL came to an end.
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