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Misbah-ul-Haq's world-record fifty seals playoff spot for Peshawar v Lahore

Misbah-ul-Haq. Image: PSL/Twitter.
With the pressure of playoff qualification high on both teams, Peshawar Zalmi and Lahore Qalandars made multiple changes to their line-ups. But in the end, it was Peshawar’s swap that paid rich dividends as left-arm quick Tymal Mills blazed through the Qalandars line-up before veteran Misbah-ul-Haq scored world-record fifty to seal a tense four-wicket win with one ball to spare in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Qalandars – without the injured AB de Villiers – struggled to 124-7 on a sluggish pitch but their bowlers hit back hard to reduce Zalmi to 20-5. Thereafter,  century stand between Misbah (59 not out) and skipper Darren Sammy (46) – the highest for the wicket in PSL history – helped seal victory and a PSL 2019 playoff spot for Peshawar.

Misbah, who was surprisingly playing only his second match after scoring a fine 49* at the beginning of the tournament, became the oldest batsman in history to score a T20 fifty – at the age of 44 years and 281 days.

Earlier, England left-arm quick Mills started things off by having opener Anton Devcich caught at mid on. He then returned to have innings top scorer Haris Sohail caught at third man off an upper cut and then deceived Umair Masood with a slower one to finish with 3-29 in his first outing in PSL 2019.

Seamer Sameen Gul played his part by picking up 2-17 as bowlers continued to have a field day in Abu Dhabi.

But if Peshawar though six an over was going to be a straightforward chase, they were mistaken.

Left-arm seamer Shaheen Afridi burst through the defence of Imam-ul-Haq while Rahat Ali found a way past Kamran Akmal’s bat as Zalmi were rocked early. Liam Dawson was bowled first ball while all-rounder David Wiese took arguably the most important wicket in the form of Kieron Pollard for two as Zalmi were staring down the barrel at 20-5.

It was left to veteran Misbah and skipper Sammy to steady the ship. Both used their collective experience to put the pressure back on Lahore bowlers.

Misbah went after Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, spanking hims for successive sixes as Peshawar went past the 50-run mark.

Qalandars kept the two overs of Shaheen up until the death overs and that allowed Misbah and Sammy to farm the strike. With 31 needed from the last three overs, Sammy went after in-form quick Haris Rauf, hitting him for two fours and a six to all but wrap up the match.

With six needed in the final over, it was all down to Misbah after Sammy was bowled by Ryan ten Doeschate. Misbah kept his cool to take Zalmi past the finish line.

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