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Peshawar Zalmi snatched victory from Quetta Gladiators to make it through to the Eliminator 2 to be played against the other qualifying team Karachi Kings, on 21st March at Lahore. Zalmi knocked out Gladiators from the tournament by winning a closely-fought contest by 1 run after they successfully defended 157 runs. They had earlier defeated Kings recently by a whopping 44 runs and have a good chance to make it through to the finals, which will be played against table-toppers Islamabad United. Karachi Kings kept their hopes alive despite losing the match against United and could leave no stone unturned here; it needs to be seen which of the two would make it through in this crucial game.
Batting first against United, Joe Denly continued his good form with the bat scoring a well-made 51; middle-order batsman Colin Ingram also delivered perfectly by posting an unbeaten 68 to steer the team towards a respectable total of 154 with help from Eoin Morgan, who scored 21 runs. However, the bowlers were under pressure and leaked away easy runs in the second innings with players like Mohammad Irfan and TS Mills giving away more than 15 runs per over. Shahid Afridi was also ineffective with the spin and they couldn’t stop Ronchi from taking the opponents to a massive win.
When they met Zalmi recently, the batting line-up had failed to chase down a target of 182 after players like Denly, Ingram, Morgan and Ravi Bopara were dismissed cheaply. Afridi fought hard to revive the innings by scoring a quick-fire 26 off 8 balls while Babar Azam was the only hope at the top-order as he posted a well-made 66. However, the others provided no support and they lost the match by 44 runs.
The Kings had done well in the league to stay ahead of others and make it to the playoffs but would need to create something special here if they want to overcome the challenge posed by Zalmi.
Joe Denly, Mukhtar Ahmed, Babar Azam, RS Bopara, Colin Ingram, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir, Usama Mir, Danish Aziz, UK Khan, TS Mills.
The bowlers put up a stupendous show to steal a 1-run victory from the Gladiators in the elimination game on Wednesday. A combined display of pace strength by Umaid Asif, Sameen Gul, Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali, who each took 2 wickets, saw them successfully defend 157 runs to keep their campaign alive. Earlier, batsmen like Mohammad Hafeez and Tamim Iqbal scored 20+ runs each; however, it was all-rounder Liam Dawson’s superb 62 off 35 that took them a to a respectable 157 before getting all-out.
Against Karachi Kings previously, spinner Dawson had claimed 3-17 to help defend 181 runs successfully; he got good support from fast-bowlers Umaid Asif and Wahab Riaz, who took 2 wickets each. Kamran Akmal had done well with the bat, top-scoring with 75 off 51, while Saad Nasim and captain Darren Sammy had contributed with 30+ runs each. They have players like Dwayne Smith, Hafeez, and Wessels, who bring depth to the batting unit and could keep the scoreboard ticking here against the Kings.
Overall, Peshawar Zalmi has displayed courage under fire with their recent win and could prove to be a formidable force to reckon with.
Kamran Akmal, ADS Fletcher , Mohammad Hafeez, Saad Nasim, DJG Sammy, LA Dawson, Chris Jordan, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Umaid Asif, Sameen Gul.
It is a must-win game for both teams and we could see them come out all guns blazing to keep their hopes alive; however, with their recent form in pace attack and a better batting performance, we feel that the Karachi Kings for their sheer experience are better placed to make it to the finals here.