Afridi steals the show for Peshawar Zalmi in pulsating finish

Peshawar Zalmi pulled off a famous win out of nowhere against Quetta Gladiators in the 19th game of Pakistan Super League. Shahid Afridi is known for hisĀ  stellar knocks in this format as fans witnessed another pulsating innings from the all-rounder as he smashed an unbeaten 45 runs off 23 balls to see Zalmi clinch a place in the last four of the competition. Peshawar Zalmi required only seven runs off the last over as tail-ender Hasan Ali struck two consecutive boundaries off Tymal Mills to see the side move a step closer towards an improbable win.

The second edition of the Pakistan Super League saw seen riveting contest especially when the game has seen below par totals scored by the teams. Peshawar faltered in the chase after a good start provided by openers Kamran Akmal and Tamim Iqbal as they put on 38 runs for the opening wicket.

Peshawar Zalmi saw a middle order collapse and slumped to 52 for 6 before Muhammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi played sensibly to lead a fightback of sorts in the game. The chief destroyer with the ball was Mahmudullah who bagged three wickets to see Gladiators gain an upper hand in the contest. Afridi and Hafeez added 37 runs and rotated the strike well to see the side move a step close towards the score of 120 runs posted by Quetta Gladiators.

Earlier in the day, Peshawar Zalmi won the toss and opted to field first. Quetta Gladiators got off to a worse possible start with openers Asad Shafiq and Ahmed Shahzad dismissed by left-arm spinner Muhammad Asghar in the second over of the innings. Kevin Pietersen continued his good run with the bat and revived the innings as he put on 86-run partnership with Rilee Rossouw to see the Gladiators place in good position to post a score of around 150 runs in 20 overs. But Asghar came back for his second spell to dismiss Pietersen to take his third wicket of the game while Shakib-ul-Hasan took out Rossouw to see the Gladiators lose the plot in the last seven overs of the innings and end up with below par score of 128 runs from 20 overs. Peshawar Zalmi fast bowlers Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz were immaculate with their line and lengths in the game as duo conceded only 39 runs from their combined eight overs.

Quetta Gladiators have lost their last games by a whisker but a timely blip before playoffs will serve them well as the side will guard against complacency come the playoffs of the Pakistan Super League. Peshawar Zalmi became third side to qualify for semis besides Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League 2017.


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