It seems like Kamran Akmal is warming up for the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) climax.
After a series of indifferent performances in the UAE that saw him hitting just one fifty a well-struck 72 against Quetta Gladiators in Abu Dhabi from nine matches, Kamran finally woke up from his slumber to massacre Karachi bowlers in a PSL mismatch here at the National Stadium Karachi.
Kamran, who even at 37 is one of the most destructive batters in the PSL, was on song as he dominated the proceedings after Zalmi were put into bat on a flat wicket by Karachi captain Imad Wasim.
It didn’t turn out to be a good move.
Together with fellow opener Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran put on a match-winning stand of 137 from 13.2 overs to catapult Peshawar to the top of the PSL points table. Peshawar hammered Karachi by 61 runs and will now meet second-placed Quetta Gladiators in Wednesday’s Qualifier while Karachi will face defending champions Islamabad United in the first Eliminator on Thursday.
Kamran, who is still fancying his chances of making a Pakistan comeback, played the lead role in the partnership with a 48-ball 86 that included 10 fours and five sixes. Making full use of the short boundaries, Kamran scored runs at will to help Peshawar post 203-7 – an imposing total even on the flat National Stadium track.
The slog sweep was Kamran’s favourite shot as he put the Karachi attack to sword. Apart from Mohammad Amir, who bowled 13 dots balls in an impressive spell of 3-24, no Karachi bowler was really able to put the brakes on the Peshawar innings.
Imam, too, was in top gear as he smashed seven fours and a six in an impressive 59 that came off 40 balls.
Karachi, who were over the moon after recording a thrilling one-run victory against Quetta Gladiators on Sunday night, were unable to counter Peshawar’s potent attack.
Apart from the in-form Colin Ingram, who was at his brilliant best in an otherwise disappointing run-chase, no other batsman could show much spine.
The South African batsman single-handedly kept Karachi in the hunt with a 36-ball 71 which included seven fours and six sixes. But once he was scalped by Tymal Mills, Karachi’s wickets fell like nine pins.
Imad Wasim was the only other batsman to make a substantial contribution with a 25-ball 30. Karachi lost their last five wickets for just 17 runs and were bowled out for 142 in 16.2 overs. Hasan Ali was the pick of Peshawar’s bowlers with 3-15, missing out on a hat-trick at the end of the game. Mills, Wahab Riaz and Sameen Gul took two wickets apiece.