PSL 2018, Match 29 Review: Kamran Akmal's ton sends Peshawar Zalmi to the playoffs

PSL 2018, Match 29 Review: Kamran Akmal’s ton sends Peshawar Zalmi to the playoffs

Zalmi romp into the final 4 and if the other result goes in their favor, they might even finish in the top 2. 

Kamran Akmal
Kamran Akmal received the player of the match award. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Talk about fairytale comebacks, Peshawar Zalmi and their road to the playoffs in the Pakistan Super League 2018 is certainly a contender. They looked down and out in their title defence at a point, but completely against the run of play, here they romp into the final 4 and if the situation permits, they might even finish in the top 2.

Lahore Qalandars batted first in this all-important game and they lost their main man Fakhar Zaman very early. Skipper Brendon McCullum departed soon and pushed his side into a predicament. In this precarious situation, Agha Salman and Anton Devcich stitched an imperative partnership for the 3rd wicket.

Anton Devcich played an absolute blinder in this position, almost knocking the Zalmi unit single-handedly. The New Zealander kept dealing in sixes and the scoring rate was well above par. The Qalandars lacked this kind of edge in their lineup the entire season and they found one just when everything was done.

Agha Salman played a brilliant hand in this partnership as well. After adding 55 runs for the 3rd wicket, Salman walked back. Devcich completed his half-century and was looking well-set for a big hundred. But that wasn’t to be the case as he got dismissed for 70 off 42 balls, which included a couple of boundaries and 7 big sixes.

Sohail Akhtar spanked a brilliant 16-ball 30, out of which 24 came in boundaries. With this finish, they collected 172 runs in their 20 overs losing 4 wickets. Hasan Ali was the pick of the bowlers amongst the Zalmi contingent, who registered figures of 2/24 in his four overs. All the other bowlers were taken to the cleaners by Devcich.

Akmal at his vintage best!

There was a time when Kamran Akmal was one of the most pivotal cogs in the Pakistani lineup. But with time and age, the keeper-batsman lost his touch and also his place in the team. That didn’t demoralize the 36-year-old, who had a record-breaking T20 campaign this season and with this hundred in a crunch game for Zalmi, he has proven himself as a match-winner.

Kyle Abbott gave the Qalandars a brilliant start by removing Riki Wessels. Dwayne Smith hung in there for a short while but failed to do anything significant. But Akmal was going berserk with the field restrictions in play and the duo added 41 runs for the second wicket, with Smith scoring just 14 runs out of them. Yasir Shah sent Smith back in the 7th over.

Akmal’s brutality only intensified after that as he took the game completely away from the Qalandars with some crispy strokeplay. The ball travelled like a bullet off his bat and he kept playing some fine shots behind the wicket, a testament to his furnace. Mohammad Hafeez and Smith added 87 runs for the 3rd wicket, out of which Hafeez scored 27 runs.

Akmal brought his hundred in the 17th over, with the scoring rate well above the asking rate. It probably was the best innings this season and also the only individual three-figure score registered in the 2018 edition. Saad Nasim came out and played some scintillating shots and finished the game in style. The total was chased down in just 18 overs and Zalmi players were all smiles and celebrations post the win.

Brief Scores

Lahore Qalandars: 172/4 in 20 overs (Anton Devcich 70, Sohail Akhtar 30*; Hasan Ali 2/24)

Peshawar Zalmi: 176/3 in 18 overs (Kamran Akmal 107*; Yasir Shah 2/40)

Player of the match: Kamran Akmal