Hasan Ali ripped through Lahore Qalandars’ much-vaunted top order, while fellow quick Wahab Riaz tore through the tail to dismiss the PSL’s most beleaguered franchise for 78, setting up a straightforward win for Peshawar Zalmi. The total was the second lowest in the PSL’s history. Lahore were also responsible for the lowest score – 59 – with that too coming against Peshawar in 2017, reported ESPNcricinfo.
In response, Umar Amin eased any nerves Peshawar might have had after Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf removed the openers in the first two overs. Timing the ball sweetly, six fours in the space of two overs all but killed off the Lahore fightback, and for the few runs that remained, both sides were merely going through the motions. Just to please the crowd, Kieron Pollard finished the game with a monstrous six.
— Cricingif (@_cricingif) February 17, 2019
The game’s never truly done while AB de Villiers is at the crease, so what did Hasan Ali do? He knocked down de Villiers’ stumps, of course. Having already taken two wickets in his second over, he pulled his line back as de Villiers charged him, comprehensively beating the inside edge. Not content with three wickets, he removed Brendan Taylor two balls later in almost identical fashion when Lahore were 39 for four.
You’ll hear much about Hasan Ali and Wahab, and deservedly so, but just for aesthetics’ sake, why not give Amin a mention. He made his Test debut in the same match as Azhar Ali, but their fortunes have diverged significantly since. Never really celebrated as a T20 gem, he played an innings that had the effectiveness of modern T20 hitters and the elegance to get MCC members. Rarely swiping against the line or hitting the ball in the air, he scythed through Lahore’s field with consistent results, bringing up his half-century in 34 balls and scoring 61 of Peshawar’s 81. The overwhelming majority came in boundaries, the innings comprising 10 fours and a six. The cake had already been baked, but the icing Umer applied was a marvel in itself.
Less harshly, though, let’s go for some sibling rivalry on this one. Kamran Akmal and Umar Akmal seem to compete with each other for the biggest honours when the PSL comes around. So after his brother had smashed a scintillating 28-ball 44 to help Quetta to victory, Kamran was expected to make short work of the low total Peshawar had to chase.
Instead, he found himself worked over by a bowler less than half his age. Shaheen Afridi bowled two wides down legside searching for the yorker. The third ball clattered into Kamran’s pads but was clearly missing leg. He got it perfectly right fourth time, though, the yorker comprehensively beating the opener. It smashed into his pads – it would have been lbw anyway – before going on to take the off stump and send Kamran back for a duck.
With Peshawar’s win, all six teams are up and running in the PSL. They have one win in two, while Lahore, like Islamabad, have one in three.