LAHORE: Peshawar Zalmi’s pacers Aamer Jamal and Salman Irshad roared back to restrict Islamabad United to 171/6 in the run chase and powered their side to a scintillating 12-run victory in the first eliminator of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season eight.
Following an astonishing victory in the eliminator, Zalmi next face Lahore Qalandars in the second eliminator on Friday.
The United had an unwanted start to the run chase as the side lost their hard-hitting opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz (10) cheaply for just 13 runs in the second over.
Following an early setback, Sohaib Maqsood joined hands with Alex Hales and anchored the run chase with a sensational 115-run partnership for the second wicket with both scoring half-centuries.
It was all going United’s way until the first 14 overs as Aamer handed Zalmi a much-needed breakthrough on the first delivery of the 15th as he castled Maqsood.
The veteran right-handed batter top-scored for the United with 60 off 48 deliveries with the help of seven boundaries and two sixes.
Salman then castled Azam Khan (2) in the next over and strengthened Zalmi’s comeback into the game.
Aamer then struck again in the next over to claim the crucial wicket of Hales and pushed the United to the backfoot as they slipped to 137/4 in the 17th over.
The United then kept losing wickets at an alarming rate which also halted the flow of runs for the two-time champions as Zalmi managed to edge them by 12 runs despite Shadab Khan’s unbeaten 26 off 12.
Aamer and Salman led the bowling attack for Zalmi with two wickets each, while Azmatullah Omarzai made one scalp.
Put into bat first in an all-important clash against United, Zalmi were off to a flying start; courtesy of a brilliant opening partnership between Babar and Saim Ayub.
The pair charged the United bowlers right from the start and put them under immense pressure.
United were deteriorating against the baton charge led by Babar with Saim also supporting. However, Mohammad Wasim Jr struck in the fifth over of the innings to draw the first success for his side as he dismissed Saim, who scored 23 off 16 with the help of five boundaries.
Babar then joined hands with Haseebullah Khan, who was promoted ahead of wicketkeeper batter Mohammad Haris and maintained his side’s momentum with a valiant 36-run partnership.
The pair added 36 runs in just 24 balls before Shadab Khan broke the budding partnership by getting young Haseebullah stumped in the ninth over. He scored an 11-ball 15.
Babar then put on yet another vital partnership for his side as he, alongside Haris put on a 41-run partnership and made sure to score at a decent pace before Shadab trapped him plumb in front to trigger United’s comeback into the game.
Babar top-scored for Zalmi with 64 off just 39 deliveries, hitting 10 boundaries.
After Babar’s dismissal, Zalmi were 137/3 in 13 overs and they could only add 46 runs in the last seven overs at the expense of five wickets with Haris also falling short in the collapse.
The wicketkeeper batter scored a 17-ball 34, which featured three boundaries and two sixes.
Shadab led the bowling attack for the United with 2/40 while Wasim Jr, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf and Fazalhaq Farooqi struck out a batter each.