There was a Shahid Afridi special at Sharjah after a long time as the crowd favourite posted his maiden Pakistan Super League half-century scoring 54 off 28 balls with the help of five sixes and three fours, albeit his side narrowly lost to Karachi Kings in a pulsating clash.
Set 175 to win, Zalmi had crashed to 69 for six when Shakibal Hasan perished in the 12th over of the innings. Afridi and captain Daren Sammy (34) brought their team back in contention with a 70 run stand for the seventh wicket off only 33 balls. Sammy fell to Sohail Khan with Zalmi needing 36 for a win, Afridi and Hassan Ali brought it down to 18 off the last over.
Young spinner Usama Mir kept his nerves after he was hit for a six by Afridi early in the over to send him packing via a fine tumbling catch by Chris Gayle, Zalmi’s challenge was ended when Mir removed Hassan who was smartly held by Ravi Bopara.
Earlier a scintillating unbeaten 27 ball innings of 51 by Shoaib Malik helped the Kings to their 174 run score, Malik struck three massive sixes and four fours to make most of the launching pad provided by openers Babar Azam (46) and Kumar Sangakkara (28), the two added 72 in nine overs, Azam was smartly caught by Hasan Ali at the long-on fence off Shakibal Hasan.
Sangakkara rotated the strike to keep the momentum going in his innings; he was eventually dismissed by Iftikhar Ahmed.
Ravi Bopara also made a valuable contribution in the lower half of the innings scoring 30 off only 20 balls, his innings included two sixes and two fours.
Iftikhar Ahmed took two wickets in his two overs conceding only eight runs. Malik was named man-of-the-match for his match winning innings.