SHARJAH: A brilliant hundred by Kamran Akmal steered Peshawar Zalmi into the playoffs of the third edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) at Sharjah Stadium here Friday, leaving the fate of Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans hanging in the air. In the must-win game against Lahore Qalandars yesterday, player-of-the-match Kamran brought up the first century of this season off 59 balls to help his team chase down 173 with 12 balls and 7 wickets remaining. In arguably the most memorable performance of this PSL so far, Kamran remained not out at 107 off 61 balls. His century included 11 fours and 7 sixes, and has made him the highest scorer of this season, ahead of Quetta Gladiators’ Shane Watson. Peshawar showed no mercy to Lahore’s bowlers from the start, stealing 20 runs off the very first over. Opener Riki Wessels was bowled by PSL debutant Kyle Abbott in the second over of the innings. Dwayne Smith failed to click and was bowled by Yasir Shah for 14. But Kamran was unstoppable as he reached his hundred with a powerful four. For Lahore, Yasir Shah managed two wickets, and Abbott took one.
Earlier, a fiery 70 by Anton Devcich lifted Lahore to 172-4. Had it not been for Kamran’s numbing assault, Devcich could have possibly emerged the match-winner for Lahore with his 42-ball knock, which included two fours and seven sixes. While admittedly a chancy effort, Devcich struck some mighty blows when he wasn’t using the pace to deflect the ball to the shorter boundary on the leg-side. After Devcich departed in the 15th over, Sohail Akhtar, who smashed an unbeaten 30 off 16 balls, and Gulraiz Sadaf (26 not out off 21 balls) helped Lahore sustain the momentum, as they amassed 52 runs in the last five overs. All that would ultimately prove futile. Hasan Ali took 2 wickets for 24, while Wahab Riaz and Sameen Gul took one each.
Brief scores: Peshawar Zalmi 176 for 3 (Kamran Akmal 107 not out) beat Lahore Qalandars 172
for 4 (Anton Devcich 70, Sohail Akhtar 30 not out) by seven wickets.