Usama Mir was just one-year-old when Shahid Afridi made his international debut. The leggie was introduced to defend 18 off last six balls against Afridi, who had clubbed his way to 46 in 24 balls, smacking three 4s and four 6s.
Afridi stole two off the first ball thanks to Chris Gayle’s half-hearted effort at short fine-leg. He missed a cross-bat heave the next ball and made up for that on the third delivery, which the veteran allrounder deposited over square-leg’s head.
With the gigantic six, Afridi recorded his first fifty in the format since December 2015.
On the fourth ball of the over, Mir shortened his length and bowled slower through the air, which was mistimed by Afridi to be held by Gayle. With one wicket left and 10 remaining, Hasan Ali, who had started his innings by striking a six and had sneaked a cheeky four on the recent ball he faced, skied the leggie to be safely held by Ravi Bopara. Game. Set. Match!
This was Peshawar Zalmi’s second pulsating defeat in the last 24 hours. But not many had expected the match to turn out to be such a thriller when Zalmi lost their top three for one run.
Sohail Khan struck twice in three balls during the fourth over to remove Kamran Akmal and Tamim Iqbal in three balls. Imad Wasim accounted for Iftikhar Ahmed’s wicket in the next over as the Zalmis went from 32 for 0 in 3.4 to 33 for 3 in 4.2 overs.
By the total of 69, they had lost six wickets and Kings seemed on their way to a comfortable win. But a scorching 70-run stand between in 39 balls between Darren Sammy and Afridi breathed air into the contest.
Earlier, Shoaib Malik registered himself amongst the T20 greats by becoming the fifth highest run-scorer in the format, but, more importantly, his blistering 51 not out from 27 balls set up a match-winning total for Karachi Kings against Peshawar Zalmi.
The 35-year-old walked in the ground during the 11th over, when his skipper Kumar Sangakkara handed a catch to long-off off Iftikhar Ahmed after scoring 28 runs out of 22 balls.
Malik forged crucial partnerships with Ravi Bopara, 44 runs in 4.2 overs, and Kieron Pollard, 40 runs in 18 balls. The Pakistan international dominated in the latter stand and put up 36 runs.
Along with Malik’s return to form, another silver-lining for Kings was Babar Azam’s 30-ball 47, which underscored his consistency after he had put up an elegant 47 against Islamabad United on Friday in a rain interrupted contest.