Ton-up Akmal helps Peshawar reach play-offs

Ton-up Akmal helps Peshawar reach play-offs
Kamran Akmal celebrates during the match against Lahore Qalandars at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Sharjah - Friday drew a sell-out at the historic Sharjah Cricket Stadium

By James Jose

Published: Fri 16 Mar 2018, 9:10 PM

Last updated: Fri 16 Mar 2018, 11:20 PM

He had seen his skipper Darren Sammy do it on one of those heady nights in Sharjah. And Kamran Akmal perhaps drew inspiration and took a leaf out of his captain's book.Akmal won Peshawar Zalmi the match, quite literally on one leg, and pilot the defending champions into the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) play-offs.Friday drew a sell-out at the historic Sharjah Cricket Stadium and the 36-year-old Akmal penned another page in the history books with the first century in this third instalment of the competition.Akmal, who battled cramps during the latter part of his innings, unravelled an unbeaten 107, a knock sprinkled with ruthlessness and calculated assault, to ace the 173-run chase against the Lahore Qalandars.The Zalmis won by seven wickets, with two overs to spare and nudged the Quetta Gladiators and into second on the table behind leaders Islamabad United.Akmal became the only batsman to score two centuries in the PSL after his 65-ball 104 against the Karachi Kings in Dubai last year.On Friday, Akmal consumed just 61 deliveries, modestly peppered with 11 boundaries and seven sixes. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, is quite the clichéd phrase but there wouldn't be any other way to sum up Akmal and his defining knock. Earlier, the Lahore Qalandars laid down a stiff marker after electing to have a go on a shiny surface. And opener Anton Devcich shepherded the basement dwellers with a swashbuckling knock.The 32-year-old Kiwi fired his way to a second half-century to help the Qalandars rack up a competitive 172 for the loss for four wickets in their allotment. There were some neat cameos down the order from Sohail Akhtar, Agha Salman and Gulraiz Sadaf which helped them swell the score.Devcich played a brilliant hand of 70 from 42 deliveries, the knock sprinkled fairly with a whopping seven sixes and two boundaries. The southpaw had made a fine 62 in his first outing for the Lahore Qalandars, against Islamabad United in Dubai.Devcich put on 55 runs for the third wicket with Salman after his opening partner Fakhar Zaman and captain Brendon McCullum had gone cheaply. Akhtar clubbed an unbeaten 16-ball 30 with the help of three boundaries and two sixes, while Salman was the vital link in the middle with 28 from 25 deliveries. Sadaf contributed with an unbeaten 26 from 21 balls with two boundaries and a six.Akhtar and Sadaf shared an unbroken partnership of 53 runs for the fifth wicket.Medium pacer Hasan Ali took two for 24 in his quota of four overs, while it was a rare off day for left-arm spinner Liam Dawson, with the Englishman leaking 47 runs for no wicket in his four overs.

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