PSL 9: Islamabad United beat Peshawar Zalmi to qualify for final

PSL 9: Islamabad United beat Peshawar Zalmi to qualify for final

Karachi (Web Desk/Agencies): Islamabad United qualified for the final of HBL PSL for the first time since 2018, on the back of a record seventh-wicket partnership between Imad Wasim and Haider Ali, as they beat Peshawar Zalmi by five wickets on Saturday night, at National Bank Stadium, Karachi in Eliminator Two.

Zalmi failed to defend their total of 185-5 as United batters overcame the early hiccup of being 50-4, and secured the berth in the HBL PSL 9 final, completing the target with an over to spare.

Islamabad United’s pursuit of the 186-run target met with adversity as Saim, fresh off his batting heroics, struck twice with the new ball; Alex Hales chipped one straight to Mehran Mumtaz at cover while Salman Ali Agha was bamboozled with a fullish carrom ball that rattled his stumps.

In the fourth over, Mehran knocked off Shadab Khan’s off-stump to leave United 23-3.

Martin Guptill, having lost three partners in the first four overs, teed off in the fifth as he hit Saim for 22 runs on the back of four boundaries and a six.

Khurram Shahzad landed another blow for Zalmi on the last ball of the sixth over as he dismissed Guptill for 34 off 21 balls, laced with five boundaries and a solitary six, leaving United in dire straits at 50-4.

Azam Khan and Imad Wasim got together to put up a 41-run fifth-wicket partnership injecting stability to United’s innings. Luke Wood destroyed Azam’s (22, 17b, 1×4, 1×6) stumps in the 11th over to leave United reeling with 95 required in nine overs.

Haider Ali joined Imad in the middle and the duo took it upon themselves to stage the rescue act. Haider got going with two boundaries against Aamir in the 13th over, while he bludgeoned Arif Yaqoob for a six in 15th over.

Aamir’s 18th over, yielding 23, became the nail in the coffin for Zalmi as Imad hit a first-ball four followed by Haider hitting two towering sixes and a four. Haider smashed Wood for his fifth six in the 19th over while Imad hit the winning runs. Imad (59 not out, 40b, 9x4s) and Haider (52 not out, 29b, 2x4s, 5x6s) added an unbeaten 98 for the seventh wicket, the highest in HBL PSL history, to take their side to the final.

For Zalmi, Saim bagged two wickets while Wood, Mumtaz and Khurram picked up on each.

Earlier, Peshawar Zalmi made the most of the opportunity to bat first as Shadab opted to field after winning the toss. Babar Azam and Saim stitched a fiery 72-run opening partnership after Saim he muscled Naseem Shah for a maximum in the first over.

In the following over, Obed McCoy found himself on the receiving end as the belligerent southpaw pummeled him for a six over fine leg and then followed it with two boundaries through cover and fine leg, respectively.

Salman was employed to bowl the fourth over and gave away 13 runs. Then, Saim welcomed Faheem Ashraf in the sixth over with three boundaries capping off the powerplay with 59 on the board.

Saim and Babar duo also became just the third opening pair, and the quickest, to score 1000 or more runs in HBL PSL history. Naseem returned to bowl the eight over and dismissed Babar (25, 22b, 2x4s, 1×6) as skipper Shadab plucked a spectacular catch at mid-off.

Babar also breached the 550-run mark in PSL 9 for the second time in the history of the tournament, a feat that has only been achieved by Mohammad Rizwan twice, and Fakhar Zaman once.

Mohammad Haris joined Saim in the middle and the pair contributed with a 59-run second-wicket partnership. In the 10th over, Saim brought up his second HBL PSL 9 half-century in style with a maximum over long-off, taking 27 balls to do so.

With Zalmi poised for a huge total after having notched 130-1 in 14 overs, Shadab brought his team back into the game with the vital scalp of Saim in the 15th over. Saim returned for 73 off 44, comprising six boundaries and four maximums.
In the following over, Naseem dismissed Haris who returned a crucial 40 off 25, on the back of three fours and two sixes.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore ransacked 17 runs off the 17th over while Rovman Powell fell for a paltry two off seven in the following over. Kohler-Cadmore’s (18, 9b, 2x4s, 1×6) cameo was ended in the penultimate over by Naseem.

Aamir (17 not out, 9b, 1×4, 1×6) stitched a handy unbeaten 25-run sixth-wicket partnership with Hussain Talat (8 not out, 4b, 1×4), playing his first HBL PSL 9 game, to help Zalmi post 185-5 in the allotted 20 overs.

Naseem registered a three-wicket haul while McCoy and Shadab bagged one wicket each. 
The final will be played on March 18 at the same venue.