RAWALPINDI: The 15 March Qualifier will be a repeat of the HBL PSL 7 final between Lahore Qalandars and Multan Sultans after Peshawar Zalmi overcame Islamabad United by 13 runs in a thrilling 29th match of the HBL PSL 8 at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Peshawar Zalmi suffered a middle-order collapse to stutter to 179 for eight and then overcame Faheem Ashraf’s late charge to dismiss Islamabad for 166 in 19.4 overs.
The result meant Islamabad United and Multan Sultans finished their league matches on 12 points each. However, Multan Sultans were placed second and Islamabad United third on net run-rate, meaning Multan Sultans will meet table-toppers and defending champions Lahore Qalandars on 15 March in the Qualifier and Islamabad United will again take on fourth-placed Peshawar Zalmi in Eliminator 1 on 16 March.
The winner of the 15 March Qualifier will progress to the 19 March final, while the losing side will have another opportunity to earn a place in the final when they will take on the winner of the 16 March Eliminator 1 in Eliminator 2 on 17 March.
After Islamabad United’s top and middle-order made a mess of a straightforward run-chase by slipping from 65 for three to 111 for eight, No.8 batter Faheem Ashraf came to the party and slapped four sixes and two fours in a 13-ball 38 to give his side some hope. In association with Mohammad Wasim (14 not out), the left-hander added 55 runs from 24 balls for the ninth wicket.
With 21 runs required in the final over, Faheem struck a six off the second ball to bring the target down to 14 from four balls. However, Khurram Shahzad castled Faheem and Fazalhaq Farooqi off successive deliveries to seal a memorable win for Peshawar Zalmi, who in the previous two matches had failed to defend totals of 240 and 242.
While Khurram finished with figures of three for 13 in 10 balls, spinner Sufiyan Muqeem caused the middle-order collapse by accounting for Shadab Khan (25), Asif Ali (5) and Hasan Ali (0) to finish with figures of three for 37.
Jimmy Neesham picked up the prized scalps of middle-order batters Rahmanullah Gurbaz (33) and Colin Munro (15) to end with two for 23, while Aamer Jamal scooped the wickets of top-order batters Alex Hales and Sohaib Maqsood (15 each) to finish with two for 28.
Earlier, Mohammad Haris and Bhanuka Rajapaksa put on 115 runs in 58 balls for the second wicket to put Peshawar Zalmi on course for another colossal total when they took their side to 116 for the loss of Saim Ayub (0) at the halfway stage.
But the Strategic Timeout turned things on its head as Islamabad United roared back to capture seven wickets for 63 runs to restrict Peshawar Zalmi to 179 for eight. This included an unfinished 18-run ninth wicket stand from 21 balls between Khurram Shahzad (11 not out) and Sufiyan Muqeem (6 not out).
Haris top-scored with an attractive 79 off 39 balls with seven fours and five sixes, while Rajapaksa slapped four fours and two sixes in a 25-ball 41. Haris’ maiden half-century of this tournament came from 26 balls with five fours and three sixes. He was later adjudged player of the match.
Hasan Ali was the pick of Islamabad United bowlers with three for 39, while Shadab Khan took two for 42.
Scores in brief:
Match 29 –Peshawar Zalmi beat Islamabad United by 13 runs
Peshawar Zalmi 179-8, 20 overs (Mohammad Haris 79, Bhanuka Rajapaksa 41; Hasan Ali 3-39, Shadab Khan 2-42)
Islamabad United 166, 19.4 overs (Faheem Ashraf 38, Rahmanullah Gurbaz 33, Shadab Khan 25; Khurram Shahzad 3-13, Sufiyan Muqeem 3-37, Jimmy Neesham 2-23, Aamer Jamal 2-28)
Player of the match – Mohammad Haris (Peshawar Zalmi)