Imad, Shoaib resist with fifties but Zalmi beat Kings in PSL 8 nail-biter

KARACHI: Karachi Kings’ skipper Imad Wasim and Shoaib Malik struck gritty half-centuries but Peshawar Zalmi managed to hold off the home side to claim a thrilling two-run victory in the second match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season eight.

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Set to chase 200, the Kings fell a mere two runs short as they finished at 197/5 in their set of 20 overs despite a magnificent half-century from Malik and an unbeaten 80-run knock by skipper Imad.

The home side had a shaky start to the run chase as their top order collapsed to 46/4 after the batting power play.

Following the slump, Imad and Malik anchored the run chase with a gritty 131-run partnership for the fifth wicket and kept the Kings in the hunt.

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Zalmi’s experienced pacer Wahab Riaz, however, dented the Kings’ pursuit in the 19th over as he dismissed Malik with a slower delivery.

Malik scored a vital 52 off just 34 deliveries with the help of four boundaries and two sixes.

Following Malik’s departure, Imad joined hands with all-rounder Ben Cutting and kept pushing for the glory but in the end, saw his heroics going in vain as young pacer Khurram Shahzad held his nerves calm in the final over and successfully defended 16 runs.

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Imad top-scored for the Kings with an unbeaten 47-ball 80 that featured seven boundaries and four sixes.

James Neesham and Wahab bagged two wickets each for Zalmi while Salman Irshad could pick up one.

Put into bat first by the Kings’ captain Imad, Zalmi managed to raise a mammoth 199/5 in their quota of 20 overs at the back of brilliant half-centuries by Babar Azam and Tom Kohler-Cadmore.

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Batting first, the touring side was off to a dismal start as both Mohammad Haris (10) and Saim Ayub (1) perished in the second over of the first innings with only 16 runs on the scoreboard.

Following the early hiccup, Zalmi’s skipper Babar and Kohler-Cadmore stitched an astounding 139-run partnership for the third wicket with both scoring half-centuries.

Imran Tahir then finally struck in the 16th over to hand the Kings a much-needed breakthrough as he removed Babar on 68. The right-handed batter faced 46 deliveries and smashed seven boundaries and a six.

Kohler-Cadmore then put on a brief partnership with Bhanuka Rajapaksa for the fourth wicket, who could score a mere six before falling victim to Andrew Tye.

The Zalmi were looking solid to breach the 200-run mark with Kohler-Cadmore eyeing his century but Cutting utilized his experience to bowl a magnificent last over and leaked just eight runs and also removed the set batter.

Kohler-Cadmore remained the top-scorer for the Zalmi with 92 off 50 balls, laced with seven boundaries and six sixes.

For the Kings, Mir Hamza, Cutting, Imran and Tye picked one wicket apiece.

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