DUBAI: Brad Hodge of Peshawar Zalmi smashed a quickfire 85 off 45 deliveries to help his side beat Karachi Kings by five wickets at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
It wasn’t an easy ride for the Zalmi batsmen as Kings pace spearheads continued to create problems by clinching wickets in regular intervals.
At one stage, Zalmi were down 69-4, having lost their top four batsmen Mohamamd Hafeez (four), Dawid Malan (eight), Jim Allenby (31) and skipper Shahid Afridi (five). Wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal (eight) also failed to impress, yet again.
However, it was a super knock by the Australian international Hodge, who hit six fours and six sixes and remained on the wicket till his team was ensured victory with nine balls to spare. He was declared the Man of the Match
Earlier, Kings came out all guns blazing but squandered a super start to be restricted to 152/7 in their must-win encounter.
The Kings had raced to 83 inside 11 overs, courtesy Lendl Simmons’ 49 off 37 balls before losing their way. The West Indian batsman’s knock was the only solid contribution as Zalmi’s emerging bowlers Hasan Ali and Imran Khan Jr but the brakes on the innings.
Ali and Imran picked up one wicket each while captain Shahid Afridi was also in fine form, returning figures of 4-27-1.
Kings captain Shoaib Malik won the toss and elected to bat first as his side made three changes with Riki Wessels, Lendl Simmons and Bilawal Bhatti coming into the side.
Zalmi also rung in the changes with Abdur Rehman, Hassan Ali, Imran Khan jr and Jim Allenby coming in.
Shaun Tait, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Asghar, Junaid Khan, Tamim Iqbal and Shahid Yousuf were ‘rested’.
Kings needed to win the match to qualify for the playoffs. Now if Lahore Qalandars win its next match against Islamabad United, it will be through. In case Qalandars loses, then the Kings will go through with a better head-to-head record.
Four out of five teams go through to the playoffs.