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Sports

March 15, 2018
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Peshawar players say they’re in buoyant mood despite precarious situation

SHARJAH: Defending champions Peshawar Zalmi know that they are walking on thin ice. With just six points from eight matches, they have to win back-to-back weekend games against Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars in Sharjah to qualify for the HBL Pakistan Super League eliminators in Lahore next week.

Another hiccup and they will join the Qalandars as the two teams to suffer an embarrassing exit at the first hurdle.

Plagued by injuries and player unavailability, Zalmi’s campaign has suffered big jolts. But the team remains unfazed.

On Wednesday, Peshawar Zalmi carried out an intense training session at the ICC Academy facility in Dubai Sports City.

Later, a top franchise official declared that Peshawar were in a buoyant mood despite their precarious situation.

All their first-eleven players took an active part in the training session including the team’s pace lynchpin Hasan Ali, who has so far had a forgettable tournament because of fitness issues. Hasan, regarded as one of the most lethal bowlers in limited-overs cricket, missed Peshawar’s initial games of PSL - 3 because of an ankle injury. Of Peshawar’s eight PSL games, Hasan has featured in just four and has picked up just four wickets including three-wicket haul against Lahore Qalandars at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on March 3.

“He (Hasan) had a high-intensity session and looked pretty sharp,” Zaheer Abbas, the President of the Peshawar franchise, told ‘The News’ on Wednesday.

“He bowled for quite a while and I believe he should give his best over the next couple of days,” added Zaheer, who witnessed Zalmi’s training session.

Peshswar skipper Darren Sammy was also forced to miss a couple of his team’s matches because of a leg injury. Though he is back in the line-up, the former West Indies’ captain hasn’t bowled in his last two appearances. He hasn’t fully recovered from his injury which means Sammy is unlikely to bowl against Karachi on Thursday either. But he is set to captain Peshawar, playing the role of a mid-innings pinch-hitter. On Wednesday, he had a long stay on the crease hitting a series of big shots all over the place.

“The best part for Peshawar is that despite their situation, there is a sense of self-belief in the team. The boys are very positive and I’m confident that they will give their best in the last two matches,” said Zaheer, Pakistan’s former Test captain.

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