Lahore  -  Man-of-match Kamran Akmal powered Peshawar Zalmi to Pakistan Super League (PSL) final as they defeated Karachi Kings by 13 runs in the rain-reduced second eliminator here at the jam-packed Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday night.

Phenomenal Kamran was so severe with bat that he not only created PSL history by smashing fastest fifty off 17 balls, surpassing Islamabad United Luke Ronchi’s 19-ball fifty, but also played match-winning knock of 27-ball 77 to help Zalmi qualify for the final where they will take on Islamabad United at National Stadium Karachi on March 25.

Chasing the target of 171 runs in 16 overs, Karachi lost the first cheaply, when Mukhtar Ahmed was sent back by Sameen Gul in the second over. After that, Karachi settled down and added significant 117 runs for the second-wicket stand. Babar Azam after scoring 63 lost his wicket to Hasan Ali. His 45-ball knock included 6 boundaries and 2 sixes while Joe Denly remained unbeaten 79 runs off 46 balls studded with 9 fours and 4 huge sixes. Their strategy couldn’t bear fruit for their team as they had planned to stop the wickets in early overs and then play aggressive innings to chase the target of 171 runs, but their efforts remained futile in the end.

Peshawar Zalmi bowling though wasn’t as impressive as it could be, as they managed to take only two wickets of Karachi Kings. Hasan Ali and Sameen Gul were the bowlers, who picked up one wicket each for Zalmi.

Earlier, Karachi Kings won the toss and opted to field first. It was brutal Kamran Akmal, who provided Peshawar perfect start as he punished each and every Karachi Kings bowler severely and helped his team post a decent total of 170-7 in the reduced 16 overs. Kamran and Andre Fletcher gathered 107 runs for the first-wicket partnership. Ravi Bopara then sent Fletcher packing, when he was playing at 34. He played 30 balls and hit 3 fours and 2 six.

It was once again Bopara, who took his second and important one for his team by taking wicket of in-form Kamran, who was caught by Mukhtar Ahmed at his individual score of 77 runs off just 27 balls. He hammered 5 fours and 8 sixes in his swashbuckling knock. It is worth mentioning here that it was Kamran, who slammed the first century of the 2018 PSL.

After Kamran, no impressive innings was witnessed from Peshawar Zalmi’s side as only Liam Dawson, M Hafeez and captain Darren Sammy could reach double figures by scoring 13, 13 and 23 runs respectively, while no other batsmen could contribute some significant runs in their team’s total and lost their wickets cheaply.

Ravi Bopara was the most successful bowler from Karachi Kings, who grabbed three important wickets of Zalmi’s batsmen by conceding 35 runs. Tymal Mills also bowled brilliantly and bagged two wickets for 23 runs while Usman Khan, who proved to be the most expensive bowler, got only one wicket for 48 runs, as no other Karachi Kings bowler could get a single wicket.

A wet outfield delayed the start of the knockout match, after intermittent rain most of the day. The two helicopters were used by the PCB with the help of Pakistan Army, which took 30 minutes to dry the wet outfield. The match started at 8:15pm and was reduced to 16 overs-a-side.

Peshawar Zalmi were without opener Tamim Iqbal, who was battling an injury while Karachi Kings hadn’t the services of star all-rounder, who is out due to a knee injury. They also didn’t have the services of recovering skipper Imad Wasim, and the team was then captained by pacer M Aamir.

After winning the match, jubilant Peshawar Zalmi skipper Daren Sammy said: “Kamran Akmal's partnership with Fletchee was exceptional. The guys have shown good character. The strength of this team is all of us stick together. Coming here, the support we had from the fans was amazing. Two exciting games, we couldn't have asked for more.”

Karachi Kings' stand-in captain M Aamir said: “Today was Kamran Akmal's day. Whatever he hit connected today. It would've been fun to play the final in Karachi. For now, we'll have to learn from our mistakes and try to do best in the next edition.”




Kamran Akmal c Mukhtar b Bopara 77

A Fletcher c Denly b Bopara 34

L Dawson c Ingram b Usman 13

M Hafeez c & b Bopara 13

D Sammy (c) c Denly b Mills 23

Saad Nasim run out 2

Wahab Riaz c Denly b Mills 0

C Jordan not out 0

Hasan Ali not out 0

EXTRAS: (b1, lb2, nb1, w4) 8

TOTAL: (7 wkts; 16 overs) 170

FOW: 1-107, 2-120, 3-137, 4-150, 5-169, 6-169, 7-169

BOWLING: M Amir 4-0-16-0, Usman Khan 3-0-48-1, T Mills 3-0-23-2, R Bopara 3-0-35-3 , Usama Mir 2-0-29-0, Danish Aziz 1-0-16-0

Mukhtar Ahmed c Sammy b Sameen Gul 1

J Denly not out 79

Babar Azam c Dawson b Hasan Ali 63

C Ingram not out 5

DNB: R Bopara, Danish Aziz, M Rizwan , M Aamir, T Mills, Usman Khan, Usama Mir

EXTRAS: (b4, lb2, nb1, w2) 9

TOTAL: (2 wkts; 16 overs) 157

FOW: 1-13, 2-130

BOWLING: Hasan Ali 4-0-41-1, Sameen Gul 3-0-20-1, C Jordan 3-0-27-0, Wahab Riaz 3-0-36-0, Umaid Asif 3-0-27-0

TOSS: Karachi Kings

UMPIRES: Aleem Dar, Shozab Raza

TV UMPIRE: Asif Yaqoob