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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

PSL 2018: Umaid Asif proves call-ups are never too late as Peshawar Zalmi crush Islamabad United

Seamer, who turns 34 in April, says four-wicket haul against Islamabad 'reward for my hard work'. But he nearly did not play in PSL this season

Umaid Asif fell just short of the perfect debut when a dropped catch off the final ball of his first four overs as a Peshawar Zalmi player deprived him a five-wicket haul.

Other than that, his first day on official duty in the HBL Pakistan Super League was pretty much a dream.

The fast bowler, who turns 34 in April, might have thought days like this had passed him by. As it was, he ended up with 4-23 as the defending champions thrashed Islamabad United, who were the first winners of PSL in 2016.

Tamim Iqbal dropped Faheem Ashraf off the last ball Umaid sent down, but the lanky pace bowler was not complaining, as he set his new team on their way to a 34-run win at the Dubai International Stadium.

“I am happy with my performance, and feel it is a reward for my hard work,” said Umaid, who was only selected as a replacement player after being overlooked in the initial draft. "Yes, I was frustrated [at missing out at first]. It was a sad moment for me but I got it over within a few days.

“You can’t say that I got a chance very late. I worked really hard, and when I was picked as cover I thought my moment had come. It’s a nice feeling after being disappointed.”

Peshawar had started the defence of their title in limp style on the opening night on Thursday, when they were shocked by Multan Sultans, who were making their debut as PSL 3’s expansion franchise.

Kamran Akmal ensured they knocked the rust off in the second match, though, as he blazed away with the bat at the top of the order against Islamabad.

Akmal was the leading run-scorer last year in the PSL, but started out this time with a duck. He found his range as he made 53 in 37 balls against Islamabad, who were playing their first match of this year’s tournament.

Akmal’s half-century was the centre-piece of Peshawar’s commanding total of 176-6.

The reply by Islamabad, who were without the influence of Misbah-ul-Haq, their captain who was absent with a hamstring injury, was over before it was started.

After Umaid picked up the first four wickets within the first four overs of the chase, 19-year-old leg-spinner Ibtisam Sheikh reinforced the advantage by taking three wickets, as Islamabad reached 142-9.

“That’s the worst performance Islamabad has played in three PSLs,” United coach Dean Jones said. “It can only go upwards. We are normally not the greatest starters in the world, but I remind you, it’s not what you do at the start, it’s what you do at the end.”

Jones played down the severity of Misbah’s hamstring injury, and expects him to figure in their next match.

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