Kamran Akmal’s record breaking 100 leads Zalmi to crushing win

Peshawar Zalmi's Kamran Akmal celebrates after scoring a century during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) T20 cricket match between Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators in the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi on Feb. 22, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 22 February 2020

Kamran Akmal’s record breaking 100 leads Zalmi to crushing win

  • Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators have the fiercest rivalry in PSL cricket
  • Akmal’s first 10 deliveries saw the most runs scored by any player in the PSL over such a duration

KARACHI: Peshawar Zalmi versus Quetta Gladiators has historically been the fiercest rivalry in PSL cricket, and one that has always produced not just great matches, but absolute classics. On Saturday however, a devastating century by Kamran Akmal meant that Zalmi completed a totally one-sided win over their main rivals.
Batting first after losing the toss, Quetta had Jason Roy looking in superb touch. The English opener struck the ball cleanly and without fear, epitomised by one hit that literally landed on the roof of the National Stadium. But he didn’t quite find any support on the other end, as both Ahmed Shehzad and Shane Watson played turgid knocks that never got going. Wahab Riaz, brought in early here, carried over his form from the end of the previous match and was extremely difficult to handle.
Sarfaraz Ahmed, Quetta’s captain, arrived in the ninth over and immediately changed the narrative. In an innings that saw him in absolutely fluent touch, he was particularly vicious against the spinners, using his feet to devastating effect. It allowed Roy to play with far more ease, knowing that the responsibility didn’t fall solely on his shoulders.
Their fluency meant that the opposing captain, Daren Sammy, had to make a move.
The day had begun with news that Sammy was being awarded Pakistan’s highest civilian award and honorary citizenship in recognition for his contributions to Pakistan cricket. For all of Sammy’s off field efforts, it’s his on-field ones for Zalmi that are equally legendary. Here, he brought himself on for what would be his only over and immediately got rid of Sarfaraz. It wasn’t obvious then, but that ended up unraveling the Gladiators’ innings.
The opening game’s hero, Azam Khan, and then Mohammad Nawaz each wasted deliveries before being dismissed cheaply. It meant that Roy remaining not out till the end didn’t quite have the effect one would have imagined in such a scenario, and Quetta’s total fell short.
No one though, had any clue how small that target would end up being.
Kamran Akmal decided to singlehandedly end the competition there and then. His first 10 deliveries saw the most runs scored by any player in the PSL over such a duration, and that destroyed the target in effect if not in reality. He was deft against the pacers and far more violent against the spinners, but the effect was just the same. Peshawar were always so far ahead of the rate that the few successes Quetta had felt insignificant.
The innings also went some way in establishing the legend of Kamran Akmal’s PSL career, a storied chapter in what is one of the most notorious tales in Pakistan cricket’s rich history. Always talented with the bat, Akmal’s disasters as a wicket keeper had led to much of the criticism he had always failed. But in the PSL, he is not only the highest run-scorer of all time, he now has three centuries in the competition’s history, which is as many as everyone else combined. Predictably, from the press conference onwards to across social media, calls for Akmal’s return to the international side echoed far and wide.
Barely managing to conceal his famous grin when speaking to reporters later, Akmal was at pains to insist that he had no thoughts on returning to the national side, and his complete focus was on the PSL. But Peshawar Zalmi won’t mind either way — if their prized asset continues to make his case for the national side in a World Cup year on their roster, they would be the most to benefit.
Zalmi’s first win also gave them some consolation for their last encounter with Quetta, also at this ground, where they had lost the PSL final. But after almost chasing down 200 yesterday and then gut punching the defending champions today, Peshawar will feel confident that they will be returning to the final this year as well.


Chinese doctors, coronavirus relief supplies arrive in Pakistan

Updated 29 min 31 sec ago

Chinese doctors, coronavirus relief supplies arrive in Pakistan

  • FM Qureshi received the medical team at Islamabad airport
  • Chinese government and private donations for coronavirus relief includes test kits, PPE, face masks and funding support for an isolation hospital

ISLAMABAD: A special plane from China carrying an eight member medical team and relief assistance for Pakistan’s fight against the coronavirus touched down in Islamabad on Saturday, according to state-owned Radio Pakistan.
The novel coronavirus first broke out in China’s Hubei province late last year, and was declared a global pandemic by the WHO in January 2020. To date, it has claimed about 28,000 deaths around the world with surging rates of infection.
Through stringent containment measures, China was able to stem virus cases on its soil, and this week, the original epicenter of the deadly outbreak, Wuhan City, relaxed lockdown measures for the first time in months. Pakistan’s current cases of the infection stand at roughly 1,400 with 11 people dead and the numbers rising every day. Partial lockdowns have been imposed in some provinces.
China’s state assistance to its western neighbor so far includes 12,000 test kits, 300,000 face masks, 10,000 protective suits for health care workers on the disease front-lines, as well as funding support to build an isolation hospital, according to the foreign office.
The medical team from China are experts in dealing with the coronavirus and will remain in Pakistan for two weeks, the foreign office said. FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi personally received the Chinese medial experts at Islamabad airport.
“We are grateful, this is a unique relationship. And such times tell us how close we are to each other,” Qureshi said at the event.
Additionally, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Foundation and the Ali Baba foundation have donated 50,000 test kits and 500,000 face masks to Pakistan, the foreign office said.
Through the Khunjerab Pass earlier this week, China also provided over two tons of masks, test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment. Pakistan has also been the recipient of considerable private donations from China.
Earlier this month, President Arif Alvi and a contingent of high level officials including FM Qureshi visited Beijing to express solidarity with China in its fight against the virus.