Left-arm spinner Mohammad Asgher took three wickets and two outstanding catches in the outfield to anchor Peshawar Zalmi’s 21-run win over Islamabad United in the second match of a double-header in Dubai on Friday.
The 22-year-old, seen as future prospect for Pakistan, dismissed Babar Azam (naught), Umar Amin (four) and Misbah-ul-Haq (12) before catching Andre Russell (12) and Sam Billings (26) in the crucial 17th over to inflict second successive defeat on the pre-tournament favorites.
The bowling and fielding effort by Asgher helped Peshawar defend the best score of the league 145-7 after they won the toss and batted on a flat Dubai stadium pitch. Islamabad managed 121-9 in their stipulated overs.
Earlier in the day Karachi Kings routed Lahore Qalandars by seven wickets.
Islamabad, who lost their opening match to Quetta Gladiators by eight wickets on the opening day on Thursday, were pushed back by Asgher who built on Shaun Tait’s dismissal of Sharjeel Khan.
Billings hit a four and a six to threaten Peshawar Zalmi but his effort was too little and a bit late.
Shane Watson made 28 off 31 balls with four boundaries and was finally dismissed by Wahab Riaz who also finished with three wickets.
Earlier, Peshawar were lifted to league’s highest total in three matches by Iqbal’s sedate half-century.
Iqbal hit three boundaries and a six and shared a 45-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Shahid Yousuf who made 16. He added another 37 for the next with Shahid Afridi who also made 16.
Andre Russell was the pick of Islamabad bowlers with 3-31 while forgotten off-spinner Saeed Ajmal — picked only as a supplementary player — took 1-19 in his four overs. But in all Islamabad bowlers conceded ten wide balls, a bit too much for the liking of their mentor legendary paceman Wasim Akram.
Karachi Kings will face Quetta and Lahore will meet Peshawar in another double header on Saturday.