Smith 71* in vain as Karachi post second win

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Karachi Kings 135 for 5 (Denly 29, Babar 28, Ibtisam 2-25, Jordan 2-29) beat Peshawar Zalmi 131 for 9 (Dwayne Smith 71*, Amir 2-6, Afridi 2-22) by five wickets

In a nutshell

Karachi Kings completed a day of low-scoring runs and comfortable chases with a five-wicket win against Peshawar Zalmi to maintain their perfect record in PSL 2018. It was tighter than it needed to be, the chase completed with only two balls to spare. However, the defeat was no less than Peshawar deserved after a feckless first innings in which they were out to poor shots. They were even more indolent with their running: three run-outs meaning they gifted wickets to Karachi who bowled well enough to not require assistance anyway.

An ephemeral cameo from Kamran Akmal at the top aside, Peshawar struggled to score at a good enough run rate, with the crease becoming a revolving door for batsmen to waltz in and out of. Dwayne Smith was the only one to chip in with an innings of any note, responsible for 71 of Peshawar’s 131. Karachi’s bowlers – particularly Mohammad Amir early on – were magnificent, setting the tone for the rest of the evening.

A late surge had given Peshawar hope of eking out a scrappy win, but Karachi were clinical when they came out. They prioritised keeping wickets in hand, knowing the run rate wasn’t going to be an issue. Joe Denly and Babar Azam kept Karachi on course, before Colin Ingram injected some impetus with a 14-ball 23. A pair of late wickets and good bowling at the death meant Peshawar made it tight, but Imad Wasim’s men were never in real danger of blowing this, with the captain himself smashing the last ball for six to secure victory.

Where the match was won

Karachi Kings effectively sewed up the contest with a superb effort in the field. Once Kamran was dismissed in the second over, they kept their foot on Peshawar’s throats. No bowler was a weak link as the run rate remained well below six for nearly the entirety of the first innings. Even though Darren Sammy’s men managed 48 in the last four overs, Karachi’s good work in the first 16 meant the target was still well within the Karachi’s reach.

The men that won it

Mohammad Amir sustained an injury which meant he couldn’t bowl any more than two overs. Which was a shame, as he had been majestic in the first two. He swung the ball at pace and extracted every ounce of bounce the surface had to offer. He put an end to Kamran’s barrage at the start, which, if left unchecked, could have taken the game away from Karachi in the first Powerplay, as happened with Islamabad on Saturday. He also accounted for Tamim Iqbal with late swing, thereby setting the tone for an innings that was going to be heavily dominated by the bowlers.

Dwayne’s distinctive day

If you hadn’t watched the game, the scorecard would give you the impressions Dwayne Smith was the only Peshawar batsman who had a good day. After all, he scored an unbeaten 71 off 51 in a low-scoring game, accounting for nearly 55% of his side’s runs. But the other side of the coin is he was atrocious with his running and calling, at fault for at least two of the three run-outs that happened while he was at the crease. There is a case that the batsmen dismissed, Ibtisam Shiekh, Darren Sammy and Wahab Riaz may have been able to make useful contributions that made the difference in what ended up being a tight contest. But Smith’s consistency across the three editions of the PSL is unquestionable, and he once again demonstrated his destructiveness with the bat.

Where they stand

Karachi are the only side with a perfect record in the PSL so far, and move to the top of the table. Zalmi now have one win from three, and are fourth.

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