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Haider, Imad take Islamabad United to PSL 9 final as Peshawar Zalmi falter

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KARACHI: An unbeaten 98-run partnership between Haider Ali and Imad Wasim scripted a hard-fought victory for Islamabad United over Peshawar Zalmi in the Eliminator 2 of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 9 here on Saturday.

Two-time victors Islamabad United will now face 2021 champions Multan Sultans in the PSL 9 final, scheduled at the same venue on Monday.

Set to chase 186, the United amassed the total for the loss of five wickets and six balls to spare at the back of a magnificent sixth-wicket partnership between Imad and Haider.

The United had a contrasting start to the pursuit as they lost three wickets inside four overs with just 21 runs on the board.

In-form opener Martin Guptill offered brief retaliation, the highlight of which was a 22-run over against Saim Ayub, before falling victim to Khurram Shehzad on the last delivery of the batting powerplay.

He remained a notable contributor for the United with a 21-ball 34, peppered with five boundaries and a six.

With the scoreboard reading 50/4 in six overs, Azam Khan joined Imad in the middle in a bid to launch recovery.

The pair batted sensibly for around five overs until Luke Wood cleaned up Azam (22) on the last delivery of the 11th over to dent United’s recovery.

With half of their batters back in the dugout, the United faced a stiff challenge to score 95 runs in 54 deliveries.

But, Haider Ali came out all guns blazing and turned the game on its head with clean hitting, easing the pressure off Imad, who also started to score freely.

The duo dominated Zalmi bowlers at the backend with both scoring half-centuries before Imad finally smashed Wood for a boundary to take United into the PSL 9 final.

Imad top-scored for the United with an unbeaten 59 off 40 deliveries with the help of nine boundaries while Haider struck two boundaries and five sixes on his way to a 29-ball 52.

Saim Ayub led the bowling attack for Peshawar Zalmi with 2/34, followed by Wood, Mehran Mumtaz and Shehzad, who took one each.

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Put into bat first, Zalmi got off to a solid start to their innings as their in-form opening pair of Babar Azam and Saim once again laid the platform for a formidable total.

Saim dominated the opening stand while Babar anchored through with a cautious knock until falling victim to Naseem Shah with 72 runs on the board.

He went hard at a length delivery by Naseem but could not get a hold of the cross-batted strike and Shadab Khan took a sensational catch.

Babar scored a scratchy 25 off 22 deliveries with the help of two boundaries and a six.

Saim was then joined by Haris in the middle and the pair made sure to carry on the momentum with their 59-run partnership until the former finally perished in the 15th over.

Saim Ayub remained the top-scorer for Peshawar Zalmi with a 44-ball 73 with the help of six boundaries and four sixes.

Haris followed his footsteps in the next over as he coped with a soft dismissal against Naseem. He smashed three boundaries and two sixes on his way to a 25-ball 40.

Later, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Aamer Jamal’s brisk cameos lifted Zalmi’s total past the 180-run mark.

Naseem Shah led the bowling attack for the United with 3/30 in his four overs while Shadab and Obed McCoy picked one each.

It is worth mentioning here that the winner of Eliminator 2 will take on 2021 champions Multan Sultans in the PSL 9 final, scheduled to take place on Monday at the same venue.

READ: Imad Wasim comments on his international cricket comeback

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