Karachi Kings pulled off a 10-run victory over former champion Peshawar Zalmi and Multan Sultans thumped Lahore Qalandars by five wickets in their opening matches of the Pakistan Super League on Friday.
At Karachi, Liam Livingstone’s unbeaten 54-run knock off 29 balls went in vain as Peshawar finished 191-7 in pursuit of a daunting target of 202 runs.
Livingstone hit three sixes and two fours and kept the 2017 champions in the hunt when he added 62 runs off 31 balls with captain Darren Sammy, who finally fell for 30 off 20 balls in the last over.
With Peshawar needing 16 runs off the final six deliveries, fast bowler Umaid Asif (2-23) took a splendid catch off his own bowling as Sammy miscued a pull shot and the tall fast bowler ran backwards to pluck a brilliant diving catch at short midwicket.
Earlier, after being put in to bat, Karachi’s emphatic total of 201-4 revolved around half-centuries by No. 1-ranked Twenty20 batsman Babar Azam and captain Imad Wasim.
Babar hammered seven boundaries and two sixes in scoring 78 off 56 balls while Imad made 50 off 30 deliveries as they shared a 97-run third-wicket stand off only 55 balls.
Opening batsman Sharjeel Khan scored 19 in his comeback match after the left-hander was banned for spot-fixing during the 2017 PSL in the United Arab Emirates.
Pakistan international Hasan Ali also looked rusty on his return from a back injury.
Sharjeel pulled two sixes off Hasan early in the innings and the fast bowler conceded 52 runs off his four overs for two wickets.
Pakistan international Iftikhar Ahmed (16 not out) lifted Karachi’s total beyond 200 when he smashed two sixes and a four off Hasan’s last three deliveries as the fast bowler went for 21 runs in the last over of the innings.
Lahore made yet another poor start after it was restricted by Multan to 138-8, mainly because of Multan’s three spinners.
Lahore has finished last in all four previous leagues, and this match would not have persuaded anyone that change was coming.
Multan’s overseas spinners Moeen Ali (2-13) and Imran Tahir (2-21) were miserly along with veteran Shahid Afridi (0-25) as they conceded just 59 runs off their 10 overs.
Chris Lynn made a whirlwind 39 off 19 balls and provided a blazing start of 53 runs off the first five overs before Multan’s spinners tied down Lahore.
In contrast, Lahore’s ploy of four fast bowlers didn’t work out on a slow pitch. Its Big Bash star Haris Rauf took one wicket but was hammered for 40 off four overs as Multan raced to a winning 142-5 in just 16.1 overs.
Captain Shan Masood top scored with 38 while Rilee Rossouw (32) and Afridi (21 not out) played cameos.