Kamran Akmal’s blistering 55-ball 101 secured Peshawar Zalmi a six-wicket win over Quetta Gladiators in the fourth match of the HBL PSL 2020 at Karachi’s National Stadium. The wicketkeeper-batsman began Zalmi’s run-chase in style, hitting two sixes and two fours off Mohammad Nawaz in the first over on his way to his third century in the HBL PSL.
Kamran, who is the leading run-scorer in the HBL PSL with 1,430 runs in 49 matches, struck 13 fours and four sixes to help Zalmi chase down the 149-run target with nine balls spare on a day when the PCB observed Childhood Cancer Awareness Day. While taking to media in the post-match press conference, Gladiators’ spinner Fawad Ahmed appreciated Kamran’s inning but questioned the wicketkeeper-batsman’s approach towards the end of his century.
“Kamran played some outstanding shots and outclassed us so credit to him,” Fawad said. ‘They should have chased the target in around 13 overs [considering the start]. “I think he got little greedy in the end and took singles [to complete his century]. At the end [of the group stage], things like [net] run-rate matter a lot.” Akmal scored fifty in 20 balls, but took 34 balls more to complete his century in 54 balls. However, Akmal defended his approach later in the press conference and said that he was following the team’s management plan for him.
“I wanted to utilise the powerplay because Quetta has a really good bowling side. Hasnain bowled well in last game and they also have Fawad who can take two to three quick wickets at any stage of the game,” Kamran said. “Since we had around 70 plus runs in powerplay, my focus was to go easy as it was not a big total and I wanted to go till the end. Our batting mentor Hashim Amla had also instructed the top three batsmen to play till 15th over and go till the end as it would be beneficial for me and the team.”
For his extraordinary batting performance which gave Zalmi their first win of the season, Kamran was named player of the match. Peshawar Zalmi take on Multan Sultans in what will be first HBL PSL match in Multan on Wednesday, while Quetta Gladiators play Karachi Kings tomorrow afternoon at National Stadium, Karachi.