Babar Azam’s half century once again went down the drain as Karachi Kings failed to win a single game in the current Pakistan Super League and teetering on the brink of elimination from the playoffs race.

The Kings skipper had made an unbeaten 90 in their nine-run loss to Peshawar Zalmi back in Karachi. In Sunday’s reverse fixture at the Gaddafi Stadium, Babar was among runs again, this time with a 59, but the margin of defeat was more.

Zalmi’s thumping 55-run victory left the Kings winless in six games and their playoff hopes severely reduced. They are no longer in control of their destiny. They not only need to win their remaining four games but also hope the other teams closer to them in the standings lose their matches.

They include Zalmi, who have six points from seven but with a victory that will hold them in good stead for their final three games.

Their openers fired on Sunday — Hazratullah Zazai (52) and Mohammad Haris (49) plundering runs with their 97-run partnership helping Zalmi put up 193 on the board after being put into bat.

The Kings found run-scoring difficult. The run rate kept climbing with each delivery and they could only make 138. Babar’s 46-ball vigil was painstaking. He could score only six boundaries. When he departed, the Kings needed 78 more to win off 28 deliveries as Zalmi coasted to victory.

The Kings were never in it. Sharjeel Khan (14) hit a six and a four but was dismissed on the 16th delivery he faced, caught by Ben Cutting off the impressive Salman Irshad.

Babar and Joe Clarke added 60 runs before the latter was cleaned up by Liam Livingstone for a run-a-ball 26.

Kings continued to crawl and after Babar was dismissed soon after reaching his half century, trapped lbw by Salman, outcome became evident.

With him gone, Kings’ hopes had effectively ended. In the end, Babar could only afford a wry smile as Zalmi counterpart Wahab Riaz dismissed Ian Cockbain and Aamer Yamin off successive deliveries in the final over to finish the match.

Babar and his team-mates would rue their missed chances in the field with Sahibzada Farhan guilty of dropping both Zazai, when he was on 12, and Haris on 15.

They were made to pay dearly with the Zalmi duo tearing into their bowling attack.

Haris hit four sixes and three boundaries off 27 deliveries before being cleaned up by Mohammad Nabi a run short of 50. Zazai hit six fours and a six before he became the third wicket to fall.

Veteran Shoaib Malik (31) and Ben Cutting (26) kept Zalmi’s tails up with their quickfire innings before both were dismissed in the penultimate over by Chris Jordan (3-41). But by then, the Kings had already been left with a daunting target to chase.


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