Kings survive Afridi blitz to secure narrow win over Zalmi

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SHARJAH/KARACHI, Feb 20 (APP): Sharjah cricket fans saw a Shahid
Afridi special after a long time as the crowd favourite posted his
maiden HBL PSL half-century scoring 54 off 28 balls with the help of
five sixes and three fours, albeit his side narrowly lost to Karachi
Kings in a pulsating clash.
Set 175 to win, Zalmi had crashed to 69 for six when Shakibal
Hasan perished in the 12th over of the innings. Afridi and captain
Daren Sammy (34) brought their team back in contention with a 70 run
stand for the seventh wicket off only 33 balls. Sammy fell to Sohail
Khan with Zalmi needing 36 for a win, Afridi and Hassan Ali brought it
down to 18 off the last over.
Young spinner Usama Mir kept his nerves after he was hit for a six
by Afridi early in the over to send him packing via a fine tumbling catch
by Chris Gayle, Zalmi’s challenge was ended when Mir removed Hassan who was smartly held by Ravi Bopara.
Earlier a scintillating unbeaten 27 ball innings of 51 by Shoaib
Malik helped the Kings to their 174 run score, Malik struck three
massive sixes and four fours to make most of the launching pad provided by openers Babar Azam (46) and Kumar Sangakkara (28), the two added 72 in nine overs, Azam was smartly caught by Hasan Ali at the long-on fence off Shakibal Hasan.
Sangakkara rotated the strike to keep the momentum going in his
innings; he was eventually dismissed by Iftikhar Ahmed.
Ravi Bopara also made a valuable contribution in the lower half of
the innings scoring 30 off only 20 balls, his innings included two sixes
and two fours.
Iftikhar Ahmed took two wickets in his two overs conceding only
eight runs. Malik was named man-of-the-match for his match winning
innings.