Peshawar Zalmi stormed into their third successive Pakistan Super League final, defeating defending champions Islamabad United by 48 runs in the second eliminator.
Kamran Akmal (74 off 43) and Imam-ul-Haq (58 off 33), the Peshawar openers, were in quite the mood, putting on 135 runs for the first wicket, thus setting the tone for a 200-plus score in Karachi on Friday, 15 March.
Chasing 215, Islamabad never really got going. Luke Ronchi (17 off 9) and Cameron Delport (28 off 25) started with a few big shots, but Hasan Ali and Chris Jordan soon made back-to-back breakthroughs.
Ronchi was caught at cover off Ali's bowling, while Jordan accounted for his England team-mate Alex Hales (1 off 5) in the next over. Chadwick Walton and Delport steadied things with a 63-run stand.
Things slipped rapidly once Delport was bounced out by Ali. Walton was dismissed only a little while later, for a 29-ball 48 by Tymal Mills. Hussain Talat (19 off 15) and Faheem Ashraf (31 off 14) showed some fight but succumbed to scoreboard pressure.
Wickets are tumbling, pressure is mounting, and Zalmi are turning the screw.— PakistanSuperLeague (@thePSLt20) March 15, 2019
Jordan to Faheem Ashraf (31), OUT, taken at deep midwicket. IU: 152/7 (17.1 ov). LIVE: https://t.co/AvvNVO1kH6#HBLPSL #KhelDeewanoKa #IUvPZ pic.twitter.com/XkaYaMJy1w
Ali and Jordan were the key bowlers for Peshawar, claiming three wickets apiece.
Earlier, Akmal and ul-Haq had lit up the night by taking the attack to the Islamabad bowlers, striking a total of 17 fours and five sixes between them. Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy, too, made rapid thirties, featuring plenty of big hits to take Peshawar to a daunting 214/5.
Ultimately, it resulted in sweet payback for Peshawar, whose hopes of winning a second title were dashed in the 2018 edition by Islamabad in a closely-contested final. They will hope to right that when they meet Quetta Gladiators on Sunday.
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