PSL 2017, 3rd Qualifying Final Review: Kamran Akmal's ton seals final berth for Peshawar Zalmi

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Kamran Akmal
Kamran Akmal. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The stage was set for the penultimate match of the 2017 edition of the PSL. The 3rd Qualifying final was also the last match of the season in the UAE. Battling for the glory were Karachi Kings and the Peshawar Zalmi. The Zalmis had done exceedingly well to finish as the table toppers at the end of the league stages. However, they were toppled by the Quetta Gladiators in the first Qualifying Final.

The Gladiators progressed to the finals of the tournament which will be played at Lahore. The Karachi Kings, on the other hand, had a roller coaster ride coming to the playoffs. They started off with a string of defeats but gained momentum as the league progressed. They managed to make it to the playoffs and then thumped the defending champions Islamabad United in the 2nd Qualifying final to seal this date with the Peshawar Zalmi.

Coming into the match, it was Kings’ skipper Kumar Sangakkara who won the toss and opted to bowl first. They played with the unchanged squad and stuck to their overseas combinations. Peshawar Zalmi decided to rest Haris Sohail and played Khushdil Shah in the match. They retained Dawid Malan in the starting eleven after he scored a gritty fifty in the previous game.

Kamran Akmal and Malan walked in to open the innings for the Peshawar franchise. Both batsmen got off to a decent start and soon picked up pace. They added 47 runs in the powerplay and accounted for a 97 run opening stand in 69 deliveries. Malan was the first man to be dismissed and he was sent packing on 36 (31) by Sohail Khan in the 12th over. Marlon Samuels was the new man in and Akmal, on the other side, had raced past his fifty.

Samuels took very little time to settle in and hit his shots with ease. Akmal then blasted a few more maximums and eventually reached his ton in the 18th over of the innings. This was only the second ton in the history of PSL. He was unlucky to have not been able to stay not out in the match. He was run-out in the final over by a combined effort of Mohammad Amir and Ravi Bopara. He was dismissed on 104 that came off 65 deliveries with 6 fours and 7 sixes. Shahid Afridi went for a golden duck but an unbeaten 37 off 22 balls with 3 fours and a six by Samuels helped the Zalmi post 181/3 in their 20 overs.

Also read – Shoaib Akhtar urges Pakistani fans not to condemn players opting out of PSL finals

Coming into the run chase, Babar Azam – the leading run-getter in the PSL this season – walked in to open the innings with Chris Gayle for the Karachi Kings. Hasan Ali bowled beautifully with the new ball and gave just 2 runs in his first two overs. Azam was dismissed on 1 by Chris Jordan in the second over of the match. Skipper Kumar Sangakkara was promising with a six and a four but was sent packing soon enough on 15 by Wahab Riaz. In came Shoaib Malik, but only to be dismissed for a golden duck by Jordan.

Ravi Bopara joined Gayle at the crease as the Zalmis had tightened the grip on the game. Bopara tried to break the shackles but ended up missing one completely off the bowling of Mohammad Hafeez to be stumped on 6. At 35/4 in 8.2 overs, walked Kieron Pollard to join his West Indian teammate. Gayle started to pick up pace too. He hit 4 sixes and 2 fours in his 31-ball 40. Just when he started looking dangerous, Wahab Riaz shattered his stumps to send him back to the den in the 12th over. Imad Wasim was the new man in at number 7.

Both batsmen then took the counter attack, Pollard being the wrecker in chief, to add 62 runs in just 36 balls for the 6th wicket. With Pollard going great guns, it looked as if Karachi were right back in the game and could potentially win it too. It was just then that Wahab Riaz was introduced back in the attack and he managed to get an edge of the bat of Pollard. Pollard struck 47 off just 26 balls with 4 fours and 3 sixes before departing.

Imad Wasim tried his best too. He perished in the penultimate over on 24 that came off 19 deliveries to become Jordan’s third scalp of the night. With 31 needed off the last over, things were only a formality. Karachi Kings could manage just 157/7 in their 20 overs and fell short by 24 runs in the all important encounter.

Peshawar Zalmi will now lock horns with Quetta Gladiators for the PSL 2017 trophy in the finals at Lahore on March 5.

Watch: Wahab Riaz becomes emotional after leading his team to the final

Brief Scores:

Peshawar Zalmi 181/3 in 20 overs (Akmal 104, Samuels 37*, Amir 1/31, Sohail 1/32)

Karachi Kings 157/7 in 20 overs (Pollard 47, Gayle 40, Riaz 3/24, Jordan 3/26)

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