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Friday April 19, 2024

Peshawar stun Islamabad

Peshawar was off to a flying start with thanks to openers Saim Ayub and Babar Azam

By Asher Butt
February 27, 2024
This image shows the cricket match between Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United on February 26, 2024. — PSL
This image shows the cricket match between Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United on February 26, 2024. — PSL 

LAHORE: Peshawar Zalmi held its nerves to escape Colin Munro-Azam Khan partnership scare to beat Islamabad United by eight runs in the 13th clash of the Pakistan Super League 2024 here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Monday.

Islamabad’s pair of Colin Munro and Azam Khan came up with the most important fourth wicket partnership to almost stun Peshawar but it was Arif Yaqoob who with his five wicket haul paved the way for Peshawar’s victory. Peshawar Zalmi earlier, riding of the batting guiles of centurion skipper Babar Azam established 201 for five while Islamabad United fought very hard to get 193 for nine, thus losing it in a thriller.

In the final match of the Lahore leg, Lahore Qalandars will face Multan Sultans at the same venue in the evening on Tuesday, then the PSL matches will shift to Karachi and Rawalpindi. After Peshawar set a formidable total, they did not give a free hand to United batters to bat freely. Peshawar attack made United suffer their first setback at 32 in the fifth over off Naveed-ul-Haq with the wicket of Jordan Cox (13). Shadab Khan who took the crease then too did not last long and fell to Arif Yaqoob bowling for just 6 runs and team’s 50 in seven overs.

As Colin Munro held the fort for Islamabad, Agha Salman became the third victim to become Saim Ayub first scalp at 14 with team reaching 73 in 9.3 overs. Munro found a valuable partner in Azam Khan and the pair mustered 104 runs for the fourth wicket. Munro in his match-building innings completed his half century in 38 balls while on the other hand Azam too made his presence felt in the PSL with a rapid-fire 21-ball 16th half century and after reaching 73 in 30 balls became Naveen-ul-Haq’s first victim.

Colin and Azam together came quite heavy for Peshawar bowlers getting 71 runs in five overs from over 11 to 15 converting the game within Islamabad grasp. But the fall of Azam ignited reversal of fortune and shortly after the wicket of set batsman Munro at 71 turned the game in Peshawar favour. Azam in his innings hit seven fours and five sixes while Munro seven fours and a six.

Within a span of five balls, Islamabad United from 181 for four were lingering at 183 for eight. Munro, Haider Ali, Faheem Ashraf and Hunain Shah marched back leaving Islamabad struggling.

With Imad Wasim and Naseem Shah at the crease, the match slipped away from Islamabad’s hands and all the efforts of Munro and Azam went wasted when Imad conceded his wicket on the third last ball as 11 runs were still required for win. The next two balls yielded two singles and the match was over for Islamabad with great win for Peshawar.

Arif Yaqoob finished with the match haul of five for 27 while Saim Ayub, Luke Wood, Naveen-ul-Haq and Salman Irshad shared one wicket each. Naseem (8) and Tymal Mills were the not out players.

Peshawar was off to a flying start with thanks to openers Saim Ayub and Babar Azam. Together they made 77 runs in 7.3 overs. But the fall of Saim at 38 ignited Peshawar collapse and within a span of just eight balls they were three wickets down for 80 runs in 8.4 overs. It was then Babar who took charge of the affairs scoring 111 runs to consolidate Peshawar total, which by the passage of mid overs seemed weak to secure a fight for.

Babar, however, played responsibly the time he watched his teammates marching back one after the other with little or second to none contributions. Saim was followed by Mohammad Haris for just two runs, Haseebullah Khan for duck, Paul Walter with some valuable 19 in 13 balls and Rovman Powell for eight-ball eight.

However, in between all the wicket collapsing commotion, Babar completed his half century, 85th of career in 39 balls. Despite the fall of wickets on regular intervals, Babar batted with grit playing with the nerves of Islamabad bowlers. He hit boundaries with will hitting 23 runs in the 18th over of Hunain Shah and converted his fifty into 11th century of career in 59 balls. Besides, his century was the second of season nine after Rassie van der Dussen’s unbeaten 104 for Quetta in the previous match against Peshawar.

Babar and his not out 6th wicket partner Asif Ali produced 77 runs to give authority to the total. Babar for his unbeaten innings faced 63 balls hitting 14 fours and two sixes. Whereas Asif took nine balls to get 17 runs laced with two fours.

Islamabad United spinner Shadab Khan played a vital role in denting Peshawar batting taking key wickets of Haris and Haseebullah and run out of Walter. Naseem Shah and Agha Salman chipped in with one wicket apiece. Earlier, Islamabad United win the toss and decided to bowl first.