Karachi: Babar Azam led Peshawar Zalmi to a two-run win over his former team Karachi Kings on Tuesday in yet another last-over thriller in the Pakistan Super League.
New Karachi skipper Imad Wasim nearly shepherded a brave run-chase with an unbeaten 80 off 47 balls that included a last-ball six to carry his team to 197-5.
Babar, who was traded to Peshawar from Karachi for this season’s T20 competition, made 68 but it was Tom Kohler-Cadmore’s belligerent 92 off 52 balls that motored Peshawar to 199-5.
New Zealand’s James Neesham (2-26) picked up two early wickets and Karachi had slumped to 46-4 inside the first seven overs before Wasim and veteran Shoaib Malik (52) combined in a meticulous 131-run stand and raised the home team’s hopes.
Peshawar were scratchy in the field in the death overs when Wahab Riaz dropped a regulation catch of Malik on 38 at wide mid-on and Neesham couldn’t judge a skier of Ben Cutting before the Australian had scored.
Left-arm fast bowler Riaz (2-34) made amends for his fielding lapse when he had Malik caught behind in the penultimate over and inexperienced fast bowler Khurram Shahzad (0-47) held his nerves in the final over with 16 runs to defend.
Earlier, Kohler-Cadmore and Babar raised an electrifying 131-run partnership after Peshawar lost two wickets in the second over and stuttered to 16-2. Pakistan international Mir Hamza had Mohammad Haris lbw off a sharp inswinger, and Saim Ayub was run out after Babar’s hard drive flicked the fingers of Hamza’s hand and went onto hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end.
Kohler-Cadmore showed a lot of aggression against both spin and pace and smashed three consecutive sixes against left-arm spinner Wasim’s (0-42) one over in the batting powerplay. Karachi’s ace fast bowler Mohammad Amir (0-42) also couldn’t get a wicket as Kohler-Cadmore and Babar kept on pushing the scoring rate.
Babar finally holed out at long-on while going for a big hit against Imran Tahir (1-40) while Kohler-Cadmore was caught at deep backward square leg with three balls left in the innings as he looked for first century in this season’s PSL.
Defending champions Lahore Qalandars edged Multan Sultans by one run in a sensational opening PSL game on Monday.
The 2019 winners Quetta Gladiators will open their PSL campaign against Multan on Wednesday.