Peshawar Zalmi beats Islamabad United, qualifies for fourth PSL final

In-form Afghanistan opener Hazratullah Zazai and Jonathan Wells propelled Peshawar Zalmi to its fourth Pakistan Super League (PSL) final with a thumping eight-wicket victory over Islamabad United in the playoffs on Tuesday.

Left-handed Zazai, smashed 66 off 44 balls and Wells, playing his first PSL game, made an unbeaten 55 as Peshawar romped to 177-2 with more than three overs to spare.

Islamabad earlier got the momentum back through Hasan Ali’s blistering 45 off just 16 balls to post what looked a challenging total of 174-9.

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“It was a difficult route we took to the final but it’s a great feeling,” Peshawar skipper Wahab Riaz said. “We gave away some runs in the last few overs but the way we responded was great to see.”

Peshawar will face Multan Sultans in the final on Thursday.

Zazai made a blistering 77 to knock out defending champion Karachi Kings on Monday and continued his rich form with another half-century that featured six fours and four towering sixes.

Ali could have dismissed Zazai in the third over, but wicketkeeper Muhammad Akhlaq dropped a low catch that cost Islamabad dearly in the end.

Zazai added a match-winning 126 off just 81 balls with Wells before Shoaib Malik scored 32 off just 10 balls to finish off the game in 16.5 overs. Malik smashed captain Shadab Khan (0-55) for two fours and a six in one over before raising the victory with three consecutive boundaries against Ali.

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Earlier, Islamabad struggled to score after their in-form opener Usman Khawaja was run out in the first over. Colin Munro’s (44) straight drive hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end after flicking the boot of Malik as Khawaja was left stranded out of the crease.

Riaz (2-35) and Umaid Asif (2-44) picked up wickets at regular intervals as Islamabad reeled at 110-8 in the 16th over.

But Ali smashed Asif for 22 in the 17th over before Riaz went for 18 off his last over as Islamabad scored 64 runs off the last four before the two-time champion crashed out of the tournament.

Brief Scores:

Peshawar Zalmi 177-2, 16.5 overs (Hazratullah Zazai 66, Jonathan Wells 55 not out, Shoaib Malik 32 not out) beats Islamabad United 174-9, 20 overs (Hasan Ali 45, Colin Munro 44, Brandon King 18, Mohammad Wasim 17 not out; Wahab Riaz 2-35; Umaid Asif 2-44)

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