(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Kamran Akmal blasted the fastest half-century of the Pakistan Super League as Peshawar Zalmi ousted Karachi Kings to set up a Sunday title clash against Islamabad United.
Akmal, who is no longer part of Pakistan's international team reached 50 off just 17 balls and eventually scored 77 off just 27 deliveries to help Zalmi register a 13-run victory over the Kings.
The wicket-keeper batsman hit eight sixes and five fours in his knock as Peshawar posted 170 in their 16 overs after the match was truncated due to rain.
The previous record for the fastest 50 of the PSL was held by Islamabad's Luke Ronchi, who achieved the feat off 19 balls against the Karachi Kings.
In a match that guaranteed qualification to final for the winners, the Karachi franchise won the toss and opted to bowl.
The decision, however, backfired as the Zalmi's opening pair of Akmal and Andre Fletcher gave their team a resounding start with a 107-run partnership. Fletcher who made 34 was first to be dismissed in the 10th over.
The onslaught however didn't stop as Zalmi continued scoring at more than 10 runs per over to put up 170/7 by the end of 16 overs.
Kings' Ravi Bopara excelled with the ball with 3 for 35 from his three overs. Pacer Tymal Mills picked up two, while Usman Khan got one wicket.
In reply, Kings received an early blow as opener Mukhtar Ahmed was dismissed inside the second over. Joe Denly (79 not out) and Babar Azam (63) then stitched a 117-run partnership for the second wicket to take their team within touching distance of a victory.
The Kings needed 50 runs off 18 balls with Denly and Babar at the crease to win the match but, Zalmi's bowlers pulled back the game in the last three overs. Chris Jordan leaked mere 7 runs in the 17th over after which Hasan Ali dismissed Babar in the 18th over to break the century partnership.
With 27 required from last over, pacer Wahab Riaz held his nerve as he conceded only 14 runs to take his team to the final. Karachi finished on 157/2.
Zalmi captain Darren Sammy of the West Indies was all praise for Akmal.
'Akmal's's partnership with Fletcher was exceptional. The guys have shown good character. The strength of this team is all of us stick together. Coming here, the support we had from the fans was amazing. Two exciting games, we couldn't have asked for more, he said.
Karachi Kings' stand-in captain Mohamed Amir was clearly disappointed. 'Today was Kamran Akmal's day. Whatever he hit connected today. It would've been fun to play the final in Karachi. For now, we'll have to learn from our mistakes, said Amir.
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