Saim, bowlers shine as Zalmi beat Qalandars to cement playoff chances

LAHORE: Youngster Saim Ayub and captain Babar Azam scored brilliant fifties before bowlers wreaked havoc on Lahore Qalandar’s top order to help Peshawar Zalmi seal a commanding 35-run win on Tuesday. 

Zalmi have a fair chance to qualify for the Pakistan Super League season 8 playoffs after this win as they sit fourth in the standings on eight points with three matches in hand.

Electing to bat first, Zalmi set a massive target of 208 for the home side, who in reply were bundled out for 172 thanks to an all-round effort by the Babar-led side.

Player of the match, Saim led the batting charge for Zalmi along with skipper Babar as they gathered a superb 107-run partnership for the opening wicket.

Saim punched Qalandars’ bowlers with eight scintillating fours and three maximums during his impressive 36-ball 68.

Babar, on the other hand, played a cautious knock of 50 from 40 balls before walking back to the hut in the 16th over off Haris Rauf’s bowling.

Qalandars had a tough time with the bowl in the first half of the innings before Rashid Khan delivered breakthroughs in the middle overs dismissing the dangerman Saim and no.3 Mohammad Haris between the 11th and 13th over.

Incoming batter Tom Kohler-Cadmore, however, refused to take his foot off the pedal and carried an onslaught in the middle overs.

Kohler-Cadmore smashed three sixes and two fours during his blistering 36 in just 16 balls. His inning was cut short by Haris Rauf (2-35) in the 18th over.

From 183/4 to 207 all out, Shaheen-inspired Qalandars put up a solid bowling effort in the final three overs of the innings to control the damage.

Skipper Shaheen remained impressive with the ball as he bagged four wickets, three of them coming in the penultimate over. Meanwhile, Zaman Khan ran through the tailenders in the final over to end up with 2 for 30 in 2.3 overs.

Qalandars, on the other hand, underwent a dismal start to their chase as they slumped to 21/4 inside the first six overs before captain Shaheen and Hussain Talat held the fort with a valiant 114-run partnership.

Shaheen brought up his first PSL half-century with help of five sixes of three fours while Hussain Talat top-scored for the side with a 37-ball 63, laced with five maximums and four fours.

Although the two put up solid resistance, Qalanadars’ never looked in control of the chase as they started to lose wickets in quick intervals once Shaheen left the crease in the 17th over.

Sikandar Raza slammed a quick 20 in 7 balls and pushed the scoreboard to 162/6 in 18 overs, before the tail was exposed and within the next seven deliveries, Arshad Iqbal and Aamer Jamal brought the curtains down for the Qalandars.

Wahab impressed with brilliant figures of 3/17 in his four overs while Iqbal also bagged three wickets. Azmatullah had two while Jamal had one scalp to his credit.

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