Brad Hodge plays a classic knock to brush aside Karachi Kings
Karachi Kings needed a victory in this match to ensure qualification to the playoffs; otherwise they would have had to rely on Lahore Qalandars losing their game to go through. Karachi won the toss and chose to bat first, and got off to a steady start through Lendl Simmons and Shahzaib Hassan. Both batsmen played through the first five overs nicely with the Kings looking solid at 31/0.
The opening partnership was broken in the 6th over by the young medium pacer Hasan Ali making his debut, as he found Shahzaib’s edge and produced an easy catch for Kamran Akmal. Zalmi tightened the screws from then on with some clever bowling, while Simmons was the only batsman who had turned up Kings.
Wiki Wessels, also making his debut in the HBL PSL in this match, was run out cheaply and made way for Shoaib Malik to come out in the middle. Peshawar finally picked up the well set Simmons, who was bowled by Shahid Afridi in the 11th over after an important 49 runs from 37 balls, with Karachi at 83/3 at the time.
None of the batsmen could really get going for Karachi Kings after Simmons’ departure as wickets kept falling at regular intervals. Malik was caught at short fine leg off Aamir Yamin, a little controversially as the replay showed that it may have been a no ball for overstepping, but the third umpire thought otherwise as Karachi were faltering under pressure.
Shakib Al Hasan’s troubles with the bat continued, as he was dismissed cheaply by Darren Sammy. Peshawar kept up the pressure while Karachi’s best performer Bopara was next. He managed to score some runs but did not seem to really get going as he too was sent packing after scoring 23 from 22 balls. Bilawal Bhatti scored a few shots in the end of the innings to take Karachi to a respectable 152/7 in their allotted overs, as Zalmi’s second string bowling attack put on a fine show.
In a must win situation, Karachi would have hoped for a few more runs and knew they needed early wickets to have any chance of winning the game.
Mohammad Amir came to bowl the first over in surprisingly overcast conditions in Dubai! It was an action packed over as Hafeez dispatched the first ball of the innings towards the point boundary. Amir came back strongly and bowled impeccably and bowled four consecutive dot balls, before dismissing Hafeez as he skied it up in the air for an easy catch towards Wessels.
Rain was still lurking around with the possibility of D/L coming in to play. Sohail Khan bowled a tight over to follow up as Dawid Malan and James Allenby were finding it difficult to get any runs with Karachi’s attack bowlers in full swing. Zalmi could only manage 14/1 after four overs as we had a game on our hands.
Bilawal Bhatti picked up Malan in the next over as Karachi Kings found themselves ahead in case it rained. Allenby kept the runs ticking as the experienced Brad Hodge came to support him in the middle. Allenby was caught leg before by Usama Mir after scoring 31 runs from 29 balls, as Zalmi were 61/3 after eleven overs, with Karachi looking comfortable in case D/L method came in to the equation.
Shahid Afridi was next to depart without having any impact courtesy Bilawal Bhatti, as things got from bad to worse for Zalmi, and even more so for Lahore Qalandars as their progression depended on Karachi Kings’ losing. Brad Hodge kicked up his gear and there was still hope for Zalmi as long as he remained out there.
He went berserk in the 16th over as he whacked Usama Mir for 23 runs in that over, including a hat trick of sixes to bring up his half century in style. After that over, the match was evenly poised with Zalmi needing 32 runs from the last 24 balls with five wickets in hand, as the hard hitting Darren Sammy joined Hodge on the pitch.
Amir was hit for 13 runs on the very next over as Peshawar were all set to chase down the target with Hodge playing a classical innings. Zalmi finished it off comfortably in the 19th over with Brad Hodge playing one of the best knocks of the tournament, scoring an unprecedented 85 from 45 deliveries, with Karachi Kings desperately hoping for Lahore Qalandars to lose their game against Islamabad United to have any hopes of qualifying for the play offs.
Brad Hodge deservedly won the man of the match award, as Zalmi continued their winning ways.