DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, (CMC):Superstar opener Chris Gayle made an inauspicious start to the Pakistan Super League with a failure but Lendl Simmons hit an unbeaten half-century to propel Karachi Kings to a seven-wicket victory in their opening game of the Pakistan Super League here yesterday.Sent in at the Dubai International Stadium, Gayle’s Lahore Qalanders managed just 125 for eight off their 20 overs, with the West Indies left-hander scoring just six.He perished to the fourth ball of the game, holding out too long on off-spinner Shoaib Malik with the score on six.Wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan top scored with 37 from 31 deliveries, while Sohaib Maqsood struck 22, to be the only two batsmen past 20.West Indies teammate Dwayne Bravo also failed to get among the runs, scoring a run-a-ball 14 before he was bowled by paceman Mohammed Amir in the penultimate over.Simmons then took command of the game for Kings, hammering an unbeaten 62 to guide them home with 25 deliveries remaining in the run chase.The right-hander faced 46 balls and counted eight fours and two sixes and put on 109 for the third wicket with Bangladeshi Shakib Al Hasan who made 51 off 35 balls with three fours and three sixes.Their stand pulled Kings around from a dangerous position of four runs for two wickets in the second over.Bravo proved expensive with his two overs of medium pace, conceding 27 runs and going wicketless.In the second game of the day at the venue, Jamaica and West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell took three wickets but his Islamabad United crashed to a 24-run defeat to Darren Sammy’s Peshawar Zalmi.Batting first, Zalmi tallied 145 for seven with opener Tamim Iqbal stroking a run-a-ball 51 with three fours and a six.Sammy, the West Indies Twenty20 captain, scored just ten before he was run out with three balls left in the innings.Medium pacer Russell claimed three for 31 from his four overs but then had no such luck with the bat, falling for a run-a-ball 12 as United crawled to 121 for nine.
ST JOHN’S, Antigua, (CMC): Left-hander Darren Bravo today became the third player to pull out of the troubled Twenty20 World Cup squad. Following the high profile withdrawals by Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine last week, the West Indies Cricket Board announced that Bravo had also opted out of the squad in order to be available for Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in the Regional four-day championship. In a letter sent to the Board, Bravo said while he was “very grateful and humbled” to be selected, he preferred to focus on developing his game in the longest format. Selectors will now mull over yet another replacement after having to find alternatives for Pollard and Narine. All-rounder Carlos Brathwaite was named to replace Pollard while today, the board said that Barbados off-spinner Ashley Nurse had been chosen in Narine’s absence. Nurse has played four Twenty20s for West Indies and 60 overall.