Morgan eases Peshawar to win after Karachi implodes
Eoin Morgan's unbeaten 80 accounted for two-thirds of Peshawar Zalmi's runs in a successful seven-wicket win over Karachi Kings with nine balls to spare
In a nutshell
Peshawar Zalmi survived a spell of fierce new-ball fast bowling from Mohammad Amir as they beat Karachi Kings by seven wickets. It was England's limited overs skipper Eoin Morgan
who steered Peshawar to a modest chase of Karachi's 118, which looked anything but when he came in after two overs with his side wobbling at 2 for 2.
In the end, Kumar Sangakkara's team could never quite recover from a horror start, falling to 12 for 4 inside five overs after being sent in at the toss. Mohammad Hafeez
, who mystifyingly didn't bowl on Thursday in Peshawar's defeat to Islamabad, opened the attack and dismissed Shahzaib Hasan in the first over to place Karachi under immediate pressure.
Babar Azam, Sangakarra and Gayle followed swiftly before veteran allrounders Shoaib Malik and Ravi Bopara helped Karachi regroup. However, that came at the cost of a run rate under six throughout the partnership, and the 118 Karachi mustered by the end didn't look nearly enough. An exquisite opening spell from Amir temporarily delayed the inevitable and the Kings were ultimately powerless against a superb T20 knock by Morgan, who scored over two-thirds of Peshawar's runs to end unbeaten on 80.
Where the match was won
This one is straightforward: the first five overs of the contest gave Peshawar an advantage that ultimately proved unassailable. Much has been made of Karachi's high-profile batting lineup, but contests are not played on paper. With the Kings' celebrated top four falling inside the first twelve runs, it was all they could do to ensure defeat didn't turn into humiliation. The lower order did well to take the side past 100 and see to it that they batted their full allotment. But Peshawar, still licking their wounds from a contest one night earlier that they should probably have won, are too good a unit to let two games in a row go by. Once they had their foot on Karachi's throats, they never quite let go.
The men that won it
Morgan dominated every aspect of Peshawar's chase. After seeing off a menacing spell from Mohammad Amir in which the Karachi seamer repeatedly beat Morgan's outside edge in the third over, the Irishman settled in. He was quick to dispatch any short balls and particularly sublime in cutting late through backward point. At the same time, he let his experience shine, not taking any risks while Imad Wasim and Abrar Ahmed bowled a tight line even as the run rate began to climb. Dawid Malan and later Haris Sohail were content to play second fiddle in a mature, clinical Peshawar batting performance.
The double ducks
While Morgan demonstrated his class - and, as he admitted afterward, a little bit of luck - to see off Amir with the new ball, it was more than Hafeez could manage. The Pakistan opener, who departed for a golden duck on Thursday against Islamabad, nearly befell the same fate as umpire Ahsan Raza turned down an extremely close lbw appeal on the innings' first ball. Three deliveries later, Amir got another one to angle in to the right-hander and this time Raza had no hesitation determining that the ball would hit leg stump, sending Hafeez to the pavilion for his second duck in as many matches.
In the second over, Kamran Akmal - who made an exhilarating 88 on Thursday - was caught off the bowling of Sohail Khan for a duck trying an ugly slog that went straight up. It completed a dismal day for the Akmals; his brother Umar also fell for nought in the afternoon game for Lahore Qalandars playing an equally ungainly shot that was snared by mid-off.
The moment of the match
Peshawar Zalmi captain Darren Sammy doesn't drop many, but in letting an edge from Dwayne Smith slip through his hands at first slip 24 hours earlier in the opener against Islamabad, the lanky West Indian probably cost his side the match. On Friday he made amends for that, diving to his right from first slip to hold on with one hand to a thick edge from Babar in an early contender for the catch of the tournament. If he had lost some goodwill with the Peshawar fans for dropping Smith on Thursday, his catch off Babar made up for it and then some.
Where they stand
Peshawar Zalmi join Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators on two points, though Peshawar have played one more game than the other two. Karachi and Lahore keep each other company at the bottom of the table with both yet to register any points. The same two sides finished last year's PSL fourth and fifth respectively and so far that hasn't changed in 2017.
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000