KARACHI: Peshawar Zalmi overcame dropped catches, no balls, slow over rate penalty and a stunning 80 not out off 47 from Imad Wasim – his highest T20 score – to beat Karachi Kings by two runs in an enthralling contest on Tuesday.

Peshawar Zalmi were on course to a comfortable win when they had the hosts tottering at 46 for four at 6.1 overs in the second match of the HBL Pakistan Super League 8 at the National Bank Cricket Arena, but the highest-ever fifth wicket partnership in the tournament’s history (131) between Karachi Kings captain Imad and Pakistan’s most experienced T20 campaigner, Shoaib Malik, turned the match into an exciting affair.

Malik, who made 52 off 34, and Imad gathered at the crease at the start of the seventh over. Though the pair displayed positive intent and took the attack on the opposition bowlers after taking a brief time settling in, they were helped by the fielding lapses and no balls, on one of which the catch was taken.

Imad was on nine when he was dropped by Jimmy Neesham at backward point on the last ball of the eighth over. Imad was quick to rub salt into the wounds when he hit left-arm wrist spinner Sufyan Muqeem, the visiting side’s emerging pick, for two fours on either side of Malik’s boundary in an over that added 14 to the total.

In the 17th over, Wahab Riaz dropped a sitter at deep midwicket off Neesham and on the penultimate ball of the 19th Ben Cutting was caught off a no ball, delivered by Wahab.

Peshawar Zalmi, in total, bowled five no balls – including both waist high and front foot – and seven wides.

But, in between these lapses, Imad and Malik pounced onto any opportunity they got to give themselves a solid chance of chasing down the total.

Imad hit four sixes and seven fours in an inning in which he scored at a strike rate of 170.21 and Malik smashed four fours and two sixes.

Peshawar Zalmi found themselves behind the required over rate and had to field five fielders inside the 30-yard circle for the last two overs. With Karachi Kings needing 24 off the last 12 balls, Wahab made his experience count and gave away only eight runs – despite that Cutting no ball – and gave Khurram 16 runs to play with.

Khurram bowled with precision, hitting the yorker length on the first three balls that costed a single each. But, he stepped over on the fourth that added drama to the already tense contest as Karachi Kings took a single off that delivery. The right-arm fast, however, held nerve and gave singles on the next two balls. Imad hoicked the last ball for the six, but Khurram had done the job for Peshawar Zalmi by then.

Chasing 200 to win, Karachi Kings crumbled under scoreboard pressure. Wahab accounted for Sharjeel Khan on the second ball as his length ball kissed the left-hander’s gloves on its way to Mohammad Haris.

Matthew Wade’s onslaught instilled believe in the home crowd. The wicketkeeper-batter clubbed Khurram Shahzad for a six and two fours in the next over. That hope, however, was short-lived as he got caught off Neesham’s first ball of the match in the fourth over after making 23 off 15.

Neesham dismissed Qasim Akram in the sixth over and Haider Ali was out in a bizzare fashion on the first ball of the seventh over – edging a catch to cover trying to work the ball wide down his legs – as Karachi Kings were now four down for 46.

That Karachi Kings had 10 runs per over to chase from the onset was because of a belligerent 92 off 50 by Tom Kohler-Cadmore and a sparkling 46-ball 68 from Babar Azam.

Though Peshawar Zalmi’s innings began with a boundary when Haris smashed Mohammad Aamir for a four at deep long on, they found themselves in a spot of bother with Haris and Saim Ayub getting out in a span of three balls in the second over.

Haris was struck on his back leg when he went for a heave over midwicket and Saim was run out at the non-striker’s end as Babar’s drive down the ground ricocheted off Mir Hamza’s hand and hit the stumps. Haris was adjudged not out by on-field umpire Alex Wharf, only to be overturned on review.

The momentum, however, did not stay with the home side for long as Kohler-Cadmore hit Imad out of the attack by smashing him for three consecutive sixes in the fifth over that added 23 runs to the Peshawar Zalmi’s total.

In what was an outstanding recovery, Peshawar Zalmi were 58 for two at the end of the Powerplay after finding themselves on 15 for two in 1.4 overs. The pair of Kohler-Cadmore and Babar continued to accumulate runs at a brisk rate as it took them 64 balls to bring up 100 partnership.

Kohler-Cadmore took 28 balls to reach the 50-run mark and Babar brought up his 24th HBL PSL half-century in 39 balls.

As Peshawar Zalmi looked on course to post a mammoth total, with 150 on board and 33 balls still to go, Babar was caught down the ground off Imran Tahir. The two had added 139 runs in 81 balls.

Kohler-Cadmore, however, continued to attack the Karachi Kings bowlers. He fell eight runs short of the century as he was caught pulling Ben Cutting on deep fine leg in the last over.

Plyaer of the match Kohler-Cadmore struck seven fours and six sixes and Babar hit seven fours and a six.

Scores in brief:

Peshawar Zalmi 199-5, 20 overs (Tom Kohler-Cadmore 92, Babar Azam 68)

Karachi Kings 197-5, 20 overs (Imad Wasim 80 not out, Shoaib Malik 52, Matthew Wade, 23; James Neeshan 2-26, Wahab Riaz 2-34)

Player of the match – Tom Kohler-Cadmore (Peshawar Zalmi)