Babar Azam and Imad Wasim put the royal seal on Karachi Kings’ victory

Karachi Kings 201 for 4 (Azam 78, Wasim 50, Hasan 2-52) beat Peshawar Zalmi 191 for 7 (Livingstone 54*, Kamran 43, Asif 2-23) by 10 runs

How the game played out

In the hunt for what would have been just the fourth successful 200-plus chase in PSL history, Darren Sammy and Liam Livingstone nearly got Peshawar Zalmi over the line. But excellent death bowling from Umaid Asif in the final over ensured that Karachi Kings held on for a thrilling 10-run win at the National Stadium on Friday afternoon.

The Kings’ victory was set up by a brilliant 97-run partnership between Babar Azam and Imad Wasim. They got together after Cameron Delport fell in the ninth over to a sharply turning googly from Mohammad Mohsin and supercharged the Kings innings. It took an excellent piece of hustle from Tom Banton to run Azam out and break the stand in the 18th over. But by then, the home side had 170 on the board and Iftikhar Ahmed blasted a four and two sixes off the only three balls he faced to put an even more emphatic stamp on proceedings.

Chris Jordan struck a pair of early blows in the chase, getting Banton lbw on review and yorking Haider Ali three balls later. But Kamran Akmal led a revival with 43 off 26 balls before handing the keys over to Livingstone in the 10th over. Zalmi already needed to score two runs a ball at that stage, but Livingstone and Sammy somehow kept up with the rate.

Then, needing 16 to win off the final over, with Sammy on strike, Zalmi’s boundaries dried up as Asif kept the batsmen off balance with an array of slower balls and cutters bowled into the pitch.

Turning point

Asif produced a phenomenal effort in the final over, culminating in a sensational return catch to dismiss Sammy.

After a pair of singles and a two brought the equation down to 12 off 3 balls, he banged one in short and outside off. The batsman skied an attempted pull over short midwicket. Asif stopped in his follow-through, changed direction, circled back 20 yards to his right, then lunged forward to complete a very difficult catch.

On strike for the penultimate ball, needing a pair of sixes to win, Livingstone flubbed a knee-high full toss tamely into the covers for a single to effectively seal victory for the Kings.

Star of the day

Azam played a special knock to lead the Kings’ recovery after they had been sent in to bat. He was especially fluent through the off side, finding a majority of his seven fours and two sixes there, including perhaps the shot of the day, a blistering six over extra cover off Hasan Ali in the 15th over.

When Wasim started to accelerate alongside him, Azam was happy to rotate the strike and would almost certainly have carried on to reach three-figures if not for Banton’s excellence.

The big miss

By umpire Richard Illingworth. Banton has been a rampaging menace on the T20 circuit over the last year. But Jordan had him foxed with a clever offcutter two balls into the fourth over which the batsman swung over the top of to be trapped deep in his crease and in front of middle stump. Jordan flew into an appeal and was borderline apoplectic when Illingworth turned it down. Wasim wasted little time in calling for a review and DRS showed the delivery taking out middle stump three quarters of the way up, allowing the decision to be corrected.

Where the teams stand

Kings moved level with Quetta Gladiators at the top of the table on two points after two games. Zalmi joined Islamabad United on zero points, alongside Multan Sultans and Lahore Qalandars who are set to play their opening games later on Friday.

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