PSL: Azam, Nabi lead the way for Karachi Kings

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on March 3, 2021
Karachi Kings' Babar Azam plays a shot during the Pakistan Super League match against Peshawar Zalmi. (AFP)

Shoaib Malik, the stand-in skipper for Zalmi, rued the missed chance off Nabi

Opener Babar Azam and Mohammad Nabi conjured a brilliant rearguard as defending champions Karachi Kings got the better of Peshawar Zalmi by six wickets in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Karachi on Wednesday.

Imad Wasim’s side were 43 for three in their pursuit of 189, but the pair forged together a crucial partnership of 118 runs from 61 deliveries to guide them over the line.

Azam, the Pakistan captain, led the way with a sublime unbeaten 77 from 47 deliveries, studded with six boundaries and three sixes, for his third half-century of this edition, and 17th overall, the most fifties in PSL history.

Nabi, who had earned a reprieve on 20, made 67 from 35 balls with eight fours and four sixes.

Their third victory vaulted the Kings from fourth and displaced Zalmi at the top of the standings. It also continued the trend of teams chasing successfully with this being the 13th victory on the bounce, in this edition.

“It was a really good partnership,” Nabi, who was named Player of the Match, said at the post-match presentation.

“The pitches are really good for batting and that’s why me and Babar were saying at the crease that we can chase it down if we bat to the end,” the Afghani added.

Wasim, the Kings captain, was chuffed to witness the duo shepherd them home.

“The way Babar Azam and Mohammad Nabi played was fantastic to see,” Wasim said.

“You just need to be patient on this surface and if you settle in, you can score a lot of runs. How Babar finished the game was heartening to see,” he said of Azam, who now has 5999 runs in 170 T20s.

Shoaib Malik, the stand-in skipper for Zalmi, rued the missed chance off Nabi.

“Of course, that was a very crucial catch. We should have gotten that catch but that happens in games,” said Malik.

Earlier, Ravi Bopara scored an unbeaten 58 and Sherfane Rutherford made 46 as Peshawar Zalmi racked up 188 for five, after being put into bat. The Zalmis were precariously placed at 69 for four but the duo stitched an 82-run stand for the fifth wicket, to take them to that total.

Bopara was also involved in an unbroken partnership of 37 for the sixth wicket with Amad Butt and 35 with Haider Ali, for the fourth.

Brief scores:

Peshawar Zalmi: 188-5 in 20 overs (Ravi Bopara 58 not out, Sherfane Rutherford 46, Amad Butt 27 not out, Kamran Akmal 21, Abbas Afridi 2-27, Mohammad Ilyas 2-38) lost to Karachi Kings: 191-4 in 19.3 overs (Babar Azam 77 not out, Mohammad Nabi 67, Joe Clarke 17, Dan Christian 16 not out, Saqib Mahmood 2-41) by 6 wickets.

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