Belligerent Kamran punishes Karachi Kings to take Peshawar Zalmi in final

Kamran Akmal Peshawar Zalmi Karachi Kings
Kamran Akmal plays a big shot against Karachi Kings

Discarded Pakistan opener Kamran Akmal smashed a fiery half-century to help Peshawar Zalmi beat Karachi Kings by 13 runs in the second eliminator in Lahore on Wednesday to take the title holders into the Pakistan Super League final.

Kamran’s 27-ball 77 had eight towering sixes and five boundaries which lifted Peshawar Zalmi to 170-7 in a rain reduced 16-over-a-side match before another packed Gaddafi stadium.

Babar Azam and Joe Denly also scored half-centuries but they could not pace up the innings against some tight Peshawar bowling and managed 157-2 in 16 overs.

The victory means Peshawar deprived Karachi Kings of a home final, where they now meet former champions Islamabad United on Sunday.

Joe Denly made an unbeaten 46-ball 79 while Babar Azam scored 45-ball 63 but they were always behind the required run rate as Karachi Kings needed 72 in the last five overs and 27 in the last over.

Denly hit four sixes and nine boundaries but could never smash enough boundaries to threat Peshawar Zalmi.

Karachi Kings were plagued with injuries as they had to leave out Shahid Afridi (knee) and Imad Wasim (head injury) forcing them to appoint another stand-in captain in Mohammad Amir.

They also included former Pakistan Twenty20 opener Mukhtar Ahmed and Karachi’s youngster Danish Aziz while Peshawar brought back paceman Chris Jordan for injured Tamim Iqbal who returned home with a knee injury.

Kamran ran rampage right from the start as he seems to answer his critics who are against his inclusion in the national team.

Kamran’s knock included 68 runs in boundaries as Peshawar reached 54 in five and 120 in ten overs after they were put into bat by Amir.

Kamran smashed three boundaries and two sixes in taking 25 in Usman Shinwari’s seventh over of the innings before smacking a six off Usama Mir to reach his fourth half-century in this year’s PSL. He then welcomes new entry Danish Aziz with two consecutive sixes.

Kamran was finally dismissed in the tenth over but not before taking his tally in this year’s PSL to 424 runs in 12 matches.