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Kamran Akmal ton carries Peshawar into playoffs

Kamran Akmal scored a stunning hundred, his second in the Pakistan Super League, as defending champions Peshawar Zalmi hunted down 172 to swagger into the playoffs. Akmal’s unbeaten 61-ball 107 snapped Lahore Qalandars’ three-game winning streak in emphatic fashion with the highest chase of this season achieved with two full overs to spare.
Akmal was relentless in his onslaught, seamlessly transitioning from last night when his 75 setup a win over Karachi Kings. Today, he struck seven sixes and 11 fours. He suffered a bout of cramps and received little in terms of support from his first two batting partners – Riki Wessels and Dwayne Smith – but once Mohammad Hafeez (27) provided a degree of control, Akmal had the freedom to eat into the target. He relished that opportunity as Lahore’s defence quickly withered away with only Shaheen Afridi and Kyle Abbott providing any kind of control with the ball.

If not for Akmal’s whirlwind effort, the afternoon would have belonged to Lahore opener Anton Devcich, who showed little hesitation in hitting the ball in the air as he slammed seven sixes in his innings of 70. Unfortunately for Lahore, who elected to bat on a typically lustrous Sharjah surface, the support cast came to the party rather belatedly. Fakhar Zaman was cleaned up early by Hasan Ali while captain Brendon McCullum endured another failure. When Devich fell in the 15th over, it appeared like Lahore would be robbed off very crucial momentum but Sohail Akhtar’s 16-ball 30 gave the innings a much-needed late flourish.

But Devcich’s afternoon quickly turned sour as he bowled three wides and several freebies en route giving Peshawar a 20-run start to the chase. Thereafter it was a case of controlling the tempo, one that the experience Akmal knew well about. He reached his century off 59 deliveries and stayed unbeaten until the end to polish off a seven-wicket victory.

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