Veteran Hodge jolts Karachi


Seasoned Twenty20 batsman Brad Hodge stole limelight with a whirlwind haf-century to shatter Karachi Kings dreams as Peshawar won the crucial league match by xxx runs in Dubai on Wednesday.

The 41year-old smashed three sixes and a four in the 16th over bolwed by leg-spinner Osama Mir — 24 in all — to ease down a 153-run target in xxx overs, leaving Karachi Kings to pray Lahore Qalandars lose their last game to allow them a place in the play-offs.

Hodge’s 45-ball 85 not out with six hits over the rope and six across it stealed the show. Darren Sammy knocked the winning six with nine balls to spare.

Lendl Simmons topscored with 37-ball 49 after Shoaib Malik won the toss and opted to bat in the must-win game.Karachi Kings fought hard but it wasn’t enough and they were once again 20-30 runs short.

Theier planning also lacked wisdom as they opted to bat when they knew it will be tough to grip the ball in dew, a factor which leaves spinners blunt. Shoaib Malik’s captaincy also left a lot to be desired as he only summoned Ravi Bopara as late as in the 18th over, a blunder considering the former England allrounder was the highest wicket-taker for the team.

Karachi started well in their defense as Mohammad Amir trapped Mohammad Hafeez leg-before off the last delivery of the first over after the opener had hit him a first-ball boundary.

Dawid Malan also hit two boundaries off Bilawal Bhatti but lopped an easy catch off the slower ball to leave Peshawar tottering at 25-2.

But Hodge changed the game with some lusty hittings. He added 52 with Kamran Akmal for the fifth wicket, with Akmal making just eight.

Karachi Kings were once again unimpressive in batting as they managed an avergae total on a good batting stript at Sharjah stadium.

Openers Simmons and Shahzaib Hasan (18) gave a quick 41 run start to Karachi Kings before the run-rate slowed down. Simmons hit six fours and two sixes before he was cleaned up by Shahid Afridi.

Ravi Bopara made 22-ball 23 but struggled against disgusing slower ones from Imran Khan Junior who made it difficult for the batsman to hit over the field.

Bilawal Bhatti and Sohail Khan hit one six each as Karachi managed just 39 in the last five overs.

Islamabad, already qualified for the play-offs, will take on Lahore Qalandars in the final match of the league phase.

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