Peshawar Zalmi edged past Islamabad United in a nail-biting encounter in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 8 eliminator, held at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium. Skipper Babar Azam’s fiery knock of 64 off 39 balls and a brilliant bowling spell by Salman Irshad (2-18) sealed the deal for Zalmi, setting up a second eliminator clash against Lahore Qalandars.
A Strong Start for Peshawar Zalmi
Peshawar’s top order, as usual, provided a robust start to the innings. Babar Azam and Saim Ayub formed a solid partnership, smashing 60 runs in just 4.4 overs. The young duo of Haseebullah Khan (15 off 11) and Muhammad Haris (34 off 17) maintained the momentum, taking the score to 109-2 at the halfway point.
Although the conditions became challenging for the batsmen as the ball aged, Peshawar managed to put up a competitive total of 183-8. The team would have preferred a higher total, considering they were at 137-3 in 13 overs before Babar’s dismissal.
Islamabad United’s Spirited Chase
Islamabad United began their chase confidently with Alex Hales’ blistering 57 off 37 balls and a steady 60 off 48 by Sohaib Maqsood. The team seemed to be in control at 128-1 after 14 overs.
However, Peshawar’s bowling tightened its grip, and Islamabad’s scoring rate took a hit. The next 16 deliveries saw the loss of four wickets for just 14 runs. Salman Irshad’s exceptional spell of 2-18 in four overs played a significant role in turning the tide in Peshawar’s favor.
A Tough Loss for Islamabad United
Islamabad United, known for their prolific chasing abilities, could not overcome the pressure applied by Peshawar’s bowlers. Captain Shadab Khan’s decision to bat first after winning the toss proved to be costly. In the end, Peshawar Zalmi emerged victorious by a narrow margin of 12 runs, knocking Islamabad United out of the tournament.
Looking Ahead: Second Eliminator
Peshawar Zalmi now face Lahore Qalandars in the second eliminator, scheduled for Friday. The winner of this match will challenge Multan Sultans in the PSL 8 final on Saturday. Peshawar’s recent victory has set the stage for an electrifying contest in the upcoming games, as teams battle for the coveted PSL trophy.