PSL: Brad Hodge the hero as Peshawar ensure top spot in group stages with five-wicket victory over Karachi
Australia’s veteran batsman Brad Hodge might be 41, but he proved yet again why he is considered one of the best players in the T20 format with his unbeaten knock of 85 from 45 balls that handed Peshawar Zalmi a comfortable 5-wicket victory over Karachi Kings in the opening match on Wednesday in the PSL.
Chasing the target of 153 set by the Kings, Hodge and Darren Sammy shared an unbeaten 37-run stand, which came off just 15 balls, for the sixth wicket to taste victory with nine balls to spare. The West Indies T20 skipper finished off the match in style with a six up and over the mid-wicket boundary.
Earlier in the day, Aamer Yamin overstepped off the very first ball of the match to give Kings a free hit which Lendl Simmons duly dispatched for a boundary. Simmons and Shahzaib Hasan gave their side a breezy start before that latter fell just before the end of the powerplay overs. Englishman Riki Wessels’ stay at the crease was cut short soon after being run out while attempting to complete a double.
Simmons looked set to complete his half-century but fell one run short as opposition skipper Shahid Afridi outfoxed the West Indian with a googly. Though boasting a strong middle order that included skipper Shoaib Malik, Shakib al Hasan, and Ravi Bopara, the Kings were hindered by the regular fall of wickets as the batsmen failed to convert their starts into a big score.
Despite the Zalmi bowlers contributing 8 runs through wides and no-balls, Kings could only muster 152 runs off their 20 overs on a pitch that was still suited most to the batsmen and so it proved at the end of the match.
With 6 wins from their 8 matches, Zalmi are now assured of the top spot
However, their chase was not without a hiccup as both openers were back in the pavilion with just 25 runs on the board. The dismissals of Jim Allenby, who made 31, and the dangerous Afridi in quick succession seemed to tilt the advantage in favour of the kings before the Hodge masterclass swept the match away from their grasps.
Hodge began his innings in typical fashion as he took his time to settle before unleashing his full range of shots later on. To give one an idea of how well Hodge shifted gears, the right-hander scored just 14 off his first 18 balls before scoring 71 off the next 27 balls he faced. He scored six boundaries and as many sixes in his match-winning knock as he assured his side of the top spot in the group standings, with a better run-rate.
Despite heading into the PSL as one of the hot favourites, Kings now need Islamabad United to beat Lahore Qalandars in the second game of the day to qualify for the next stage of the tournament.
Brief scores: Karachi Kings 152/7 off 20 overs (Lendl Simmons 49, Ravi Bopara 23; Darren Sammy 1/13) lost to Peshawar Zalmi 158/5 off 18.3 overs (Brad Hodge 85*, Jim Allenby 31; Bilawal Bhatti 2/36) by five wickets