PSL 2019: Kamran Akmal sends Peshawar top in final league game against Karachi

Waseem Ahmed 11/03/2019
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Kamran Akmal hit a blazing 86 in Karachi. Image: PSL/Twitter.

It was a clash Karachi Kings had to win by a handsome margin to harbour any hopes of finishing in the top two of PSL 2019 table and make it to the first Qualifier. However, it was Peshawar Zalmi who emerged comprehensive victors by 61 runs in the final league game of the season.

Opener Kamran Akmal blasted 86 from just 48 balls – with 10 fours and five sixes – to help Peshawar post 203-7 in their 20 overs in Karachi on Monday. Fellow opener Imam-ul-Haq had kept the innings together with a composed 59 from 40 balls as Peshawar sped to 137 for the opening wicket inside 14 overs.

The pitch at the National Stadium has been especially flat and with a super fast outfield and extremely short boundaries, Karachi were expected to give it a good go. However, the entire top order crumbled under the scoreboard pressure as Karachi were shot out for 142 in 16.2 overs at their home ground.

Peshawar pacers were on the money from the word go with Hasan Ali removing the dangerous Colin Munro lbw for nought although replays suggested the ball was heading down the leg side.

Babar Azam was caught driving while left-arm quick Tymal Mills had in-form Liam Livingstone caught at mid-on off a slower ball bouncer.

But Karachi didn’t throw in the towel. Middle order dasher Colin Ingram kept the asking rate within reach by blasting 71.

But wickets kept falling and Ingram too departed after hitting four sixes and seven fours during his 37-ball knock. The next highest scorer was captain Imad Wasim. Hasan ended up with 3-15 while Mills and Wahab Riaz picked up two wickets each. Captain Imad (30) was one of only three batsmen to reach three figures, showing how much they had been outplayed.

Peshawar thus moved to the top of the points table, followed by Quetta Gladiators, Islamabad United and Karachi. Peshawar will face Quetta in the Qualifier while the winner from the Eliminator between Islamabad and Karachi will face the loser of the first Qualifier for a spot in the final.

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PSL 2019 LIVE: Karachi Kings target top-two finish v Peshawar Zalmi

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Image: PSL/Twitter.

Both Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings have qualified for the PSL 2019 playoffs. However, their clash in Karachi on Monday will still have a lot riding on it – namely a spot in the Qualifier or Eliminator.

Peshawar have six wins and if they win their seventh on Monday, they will meet Quetta Gladiators in the first Qualifier, with the losing team of that clash getting another chance against the winner of the Eliminator between the third and fourth placed teams.

If Karachi, who have five wins so far, manage to win by a huge margin – 85 runs or chase inside nine overs – they would be tied with Peshawar on wins and ahead on net run rate, which would place them second in the points table.

Will Peshawar avoid a meltdown? Will Karachi spring a big surprise? Catch the live updates below.

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PSL 2019: Afridi insists he will play next year after match-winning end to Multan campaign

Waseem Ahmed 11/03/2019
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Shahid Afridi. Image: PSL/Twitter.

Multan Sultans star all-rounder and Pakistan legend Shahid Afridi ended the PSL 2019 campaign on a high with a brilliant display with the ball in a big win over Lahore Qalandars in Karachi on Monday and then quashed rumours over his PSL retirement, stating he will play next year.

Both Multan and Lahore were out of the playoff race even before the match began so there was not a lot at stake as such. Even so, players in both teams would have wanted to finish the campaign on a positive note and it was Multan who came out on top, restricting Lahore to 140-8 and chasing down the runs with seven wickets and 45 balls in hand.

Afridi was the pick of the bowlers for Multan, picking up 2-18 from his four overs. Also, he was the one who hit the winning runs in the chase.

Afridi was in the news for another reason as he jumped the boundary hoardings and did a lap of the National Stadium, greeting fans and acknowledging their cheers.

It was seen as a lap of honour in possibly his final PSL game since Afridi had been struggling with knee problems for more than a season. However, after the match Multan captain Shoaib Malik clarified it was not the last PSL match for Afridi and added the lap of honour was just to “please the crowd”.

“I wish he plays more and more,” Malik was quoted as saying.

Afridi himself cleared the air over the situation, stating he will play in PSL next year. “I haven’t left cricket, I am still playing. I don’t know who I will play for next year but I will surely play,” Afridi was quoted as saying.

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