A 97-run opening stand from Hazratullah Zazai and Mohammad Haris took Zalmi to 193, and Kings never got going in the chase
Peshawar Zalmi 193 for 6 (Zazai 52, Haris 49 , Jordan 3-41) beat Karachi Kings 138 for 6 (Babar 59, Irshad 2-24) by 55 runs
The spell of play that followed saw the Kings pull Zalmi back a bit, with the boundaries drying up as the run rate dipped. Qasim Akram struck to remove Zazai for 52 and Shoaib Malik took his time bedding in. But Babar’s bowlers lost their lengths and discipline in the final four overs, and Cutting and Rutherford were there to punish them. A total of 51 came off the final four overs, and all of the Kings’ hopes of reining in the Zalmi innings had been dashed.
But if the Kings’ execution with the ball was careless, their approach to the chase was unforgivable. Just 12 were scored off the first three overs, two of them bowled by part-timer Malik, with Sharjeel and Babar mystifyingly shelving aggression and unleashing conservatism instead. The run rate had crept above 10 already; it would never go back into single figures again.
Amazingly, still, the Kings barely seemed to play a shot in anger, seemingly content with a thumping defeat as long as they weren’t bowled out. Sharjeel was removed by Salman Irshad early, and while Babar stuck around to score 59, it was little use to his side. He had simply scratched around and taken 46 balls to get there, never once seeming to appreciate the urgency that a serious chase would require. There was even time for farce when, trapped plumb in front, he opted to review, and walked off before the ball tracking even confirmed what had been obvious to the naked eye.
He wasn’t the only one at fault, though. The malaise appears to have spread through the side, with Joe Clarke similarly struggling to find any rhythm whatsoever. He nudged and nirdled his way to a run-a-ball 26 before fellow Englishman Liam Livingstone cleaned him up to put him out of his misery.
But it didn’t matter, because the Kings had accepted their fate long ago. Zalmi were professional, and that’s all they needed to be against this broken husk of a side. They may not be out yet, but as they hobbled to 138 by the end, you can almost feel they wish they were.
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000