Zalmi’s skipper Babar Azam rues missed chances against Islamabad

Islamabad United secured a six-wicket victory over Peshawar Zalmi in Wednesday’s eighth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2023. 

Peshawar Zalmi captain Babar Azam believes he had a solid start to his innings but couldn’t finish things off as he would’ve liked. 

Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Hasan Ali were the heroes for Islamabad United, producing stunning performances to claim the win.

Peshawar Zalmi started the match on a high note, with Mohammad Haris and Babar Azam complementing each other well to put Shadab Khan-led Islamabad United under pressure. 

“We started very well but couldn’t finish properly. We were trying to execute our plans in the powerplay, but I think back-to-back wickets fell after that. Then I thought to take the game deep, and whenever I thought to charge the opposition, wickets kept on tumbling,” said Babar in a post-match presser.

However, the team suffered a batting collapse after the end of the powerplay, with Hasan Ali taking three crucial wickets to dent their chances of posting a formidable total. Azam had raced to his half-century in just 33 balls, but his next 25 deliveries could only yield 25 runs.

“I was middling the ball well, but the situation was such that I should take the game deep. But I couldn’t finish the innings the way I should’ve.

“I think you must adapt to modern-day cricket and keep playing the situation. The main thing is assessing the conditions and planning according to that. The wicket was really good; I was planning around 180-200. The ball was coming onto the bat very nicely, but we couldn’t finish the way we would’ve wished.”

Zalmi collapsed from 76-0 to 99-5 in just a couple of overs, and then it was down to Gurbaz, who struck a rapid 31-ball 62 to kill the steam out of the run chase. Islamabad United chased down Peshawar’s 157 with 31 balls to spare.

The 28-year-old also acknowledged that Hasan Ali’s spell was a “game-changer.”

“Hasan Ali’s spell changed the game completely; I think he took crucial wickets, which changed the whole game. I was satisfied with the first half but couldn’t finish the innings well enough,” said Azam.

He also stressed that Peshawar Zalmi will have to improve their fielding moving ahead into the tournament and dismissed any notions of having a weak bowling unit.

 “I think we also have an experienced bowling line-up with some youngsters. We didn’t do well in the field; you have to take some outstanding catches. I don’t think we have weak bowling; sometimes, we are executing our plans, and sometimes not. The main concern is fielding; I think we’ll have to recover in that,” he concluded.

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