LAHORE (Balochistan Times) - Brilliant spells of pace bowling in the middle and death overs from Salman Irshad and Aamir Jamal helped Peshawar Zalmi defend 183 successfully against Islamabad United in Eliminator 1 at the Gaddafi Stadium on Thursday.
The defeat has brought Islamabad United’s HBL Pakistan Super League 8 journey to a halt, while Peshawar Zalmi will face Lahore Qalandars in Eliminator 2 tomorrow.
Islamabad United were cruising towards the target comfortably thanks to half-centuries from Sohaib Maqsood (60 off 48, seven fours and two sixes) and Alex Hales (57 off 37, seven fours and two sixes), but Salman’s incredible use of variations - that saw him return an economical two for 18 from four overs – and Aamir’s (two for 36) near perfect reverse-swing derailed the run chase.
The match turned on its head at the start of the 15th over. With 56 needed off 36 balls and nine wickets in hand, Aamir bowled Sohaib to bring an end to 115-run stand. Salman cleaned up Azam Khan (two off three) in the next over and Aamir bowled Hales with a picture-perfect yorker at the start of the 17th as Islamabad United were left stunned. The situation aggravated three balls later as Faheem Ashraf (five off two) was run out and Islamabad United lost four wickets for 14 runs.
Islamabad United needed 30 off the last two overs and pinned hopes on the pair of Colin Munro and Shadab Khan, but when the former played on Salman’s deceptive cutter, that proved to be the final nail in the coffin. Aamir was left 24 to defend in the last over and he did so comfortably to hand his side a 12-run win.
Babar Azam scored a sparkling 39-ball 64 – that included 10 fours after his side was inserted. This was his fifth half-century of the current edition. Babar has now amassed 480 runs at an average of 53.33 and a strike rate of 148.60.
The Peshawar Zalmi captain stitched strong partnerships worth 60 off 28 balls with Saim Ayub (23 off 16), 36 off 24 balls with Haseebullah (15 off 11) and 41 off 26 with Mohammad Haris (34 off 17, three fours and two sixes) to set a platform for the middle-order batters to score big, but Islamabad United bowlers brought their side back in the match.
Shadab Khan took two wickets, sending back Haseebullah and Babar, and gave away 40 runs, while Fazalhaq Farooqi, Faheem, Hasan Ali and Mohammad Wasim Jnr took a wicket each. The winner of the Eliminator 2 between Lahore Qalandars and Peshawar Zalmi will face Multan Sultans in the final on Saturday.
Scores in brief:
Peshawar Zalmi 183-8, 20 overs (Babar Azam 64, Mohammad Haris 34, Saim Ayub 23; Shadab Khan 2-40)
Islamabad United 171-6, 20 overs (Sohaib Maqsood 60, Alex Hales 57, Shadab Khan 26 not out; Salman Irshad 2-18, Aamir Jamal 2-36)
Player of the match – Aamir Jamal (Peshawar Zalmi)