United is won by Haris’ 26-ball fifty and three-wicket hauls from Khurram Shahzad and Muqeem.
Islamabad United 166 (Ashraf 38, Khurram Shahzad 3-19, Muqeem 3-37) was defeated by Peshawar Zalmi 179 for 8 (Haris 79, Rajapaksa 41, Hasan 3-39) by 13 runs.
Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United squared off in what was billed as a “dress rehearsal” for their upcoming Eliminator match, setting the scene for an exciting contest. The Quetta Gladiators’ loss the night before meant that this game had little importance in the overall tournament, but that didn’t stop either team from exerting all of their might to show that they were the superior team. In the end, Peshawar Zalmi prevailed, delivering a solid message to their rivals ahead of the crucial match on Thursday.
As United batted first, Fazalhaq Farooqi sent Saim Ayub back to the dugout for a golden duck, giving them a shaky start. However, any chance of a collapse was quickly dashed when Mohammad Haris went on the rampage and pounded the United bowlers into every inch of the field. Haris helped Zalmi reach 69/1 after the powerplay with Chamika Karunaratne, laying the groundwork for a significant gain. Haris’ blistering knock of 79 off just 39 deliveries helped Zalmi record a respectable total of 179/8 despite losing a few quick wickets in the middle overs.
On another incredibly forgiving Rawalpindi pitch, Mohammad Haris’ scorching knock—a coruscating 79 off 39—gave Zalmi a head start before the lower order collapsed to post a subpar 179. Despite a very disciplined bowling lineup, no United player was able to react in kind, frittering away their wickets after relatively few cameos. Despite a late flurry from Faheem Ashraf, Sufiyan Muqeem took the lead. At the same time, Khurram Shahzad, Aamer Jamal, and James Neesham also found themselves among the wickets as United found the goal too tricky.
Fazalhaq Farooqi cleaned up Saim Ayub for a duck after United won the toss and chose to open Zalmi, giving them the best possible start. But Haris was unmoved at the other end, starting the action by knocking Hasan Ali to the ground and moving over. In the next round, Farooqi was not saved; Haris made him smoke for an additional 14 puffs. Rajapaksa contributed from the opposite end, slamming Faheem Ashraf for 17 in the final powerplay as Zalmi overcame the early dismissal to score 69 in the first six.
Rajapaksa and Haris quickly entered the field, appearing unconcerned by the size of the area in front of them. As Rajapaksa blasted a six off his third delivery, they demolished Shadab’s bowling attack with the ease of seasoned veterans. The United skipper was then soundly thrashed by Haris in his second over after scoring a blistering 50 off of just 26 balls and bringing up Zalmi’s hundred in just the ninth.
By the halfway point, they had already scored an astounding 116 runs thanks to their dynamic combination. They were attacking the bowlers as if they were on a mission to demonstrate a point and showed no signs of stopping. At this pace, they were approaching another score of more than 200 at this infamous bowlers’ graveyard.
However, United applied its entire bowling arsenal in the middle of the inning. In his third over, Shadab eliminated Rajapaksa, followed by a Zalmi wicket-taking spree. Captain Tom-Kohler Cadmore, standing in for Babar Azam, could only briefly appear before Shadab stopped Haris, and Zalmi’s vulnerable side was made clear.
Hasan Ali’s two strikes destroyed the bottom of the middle order in the 17th inning, and Zalmi was already limping. By the time the innings were over, they had crawled to 179, which meant that just 63 runs had been made in the second ten overs, and seven wickets had been lost.
Khurram Shahzad and Muqeem’s Success
Even though Hassan Nawaz was out in the first over to Khurram Shahzad, it should have been simple. Sohaib Maqsood’s first-ball six was an aggressive declaration à la Haris, but after soaring to 15 off of five balls, he nicked one through to the goalie off his sixth ball. Aamer Jamal got Alex Hales to hit a ball to Kohler-Cadmore to close a scratchy inning from him, and Neesham struck to end a similarly grizzled inning from Colin Munro.
The asking rate was held in check by a swift counterattack by Shadab and Rahmanullah Gurbaz, but it wasn’t to last. After a Muqeem drag-down eliminated Shadab, United abruptly lost steam. When four wickets fell for 11 runs in 16 balls, United was suddenly in danger of being destroyed and needed 69 runs with only two wickets remaining.
Although United needed 14 points off the final four to ambush Zalmi, Ashraf, the star of a previous game that week, kept them in the game with another stunning onslaught that accelerated to 38 off 12. At that point, Khurram Shahzad had his best moment while wearing a Zalmi jersey, throwing two perfect yorkers that snuck under the bats of Faheem and then No. 11 Farooqi to send United to their second consecutive loss.
Today’s victory provided Zalmi with the ability to brag. If they do it again on Thursday, they will be one win away from the PSL championship.